The Life Of Margret Atwood Essay, Research Paper
Canada has had It s fair share of great author s like Farley Mowat, Steven King, Stanley
Burke, and many more. But one Author that stands out from the rest is a woman who is
not afraid to speak her mind. A feminise by the name of Margaret Atwood who has
written poems, novels, short stories, children s books, and television scripts. Atwood
was also the president of the writer s Union of Canada. Most would say that Atwood is
the greatest Canadian writer of all time.
Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario, on November 18, 1939. Because
her father was a forest entomologist, Atwood spent most of her childhood living in the
Canadian wilderness. During the eight months of each year that her father did insect
research in the forest, the Atwood family lived in “a cabin with a wood stove and several
kerosene lanterns. There were bears and wolves and moose and loons” (qtd. in “Author
Profile”). Because she live in the forest eight months of the year Atwood would entertain
herself with books. They became her only means for entertainment and escape. “I read
them all, even when they weren’t supposed to be for children” (qtd. in “Author Profile”).
One of her favorite books as a child was Grimm’s Fairy Tales, “the unexpurgated
version+ the one with the red hot shoes.”
During this childhood of reading, Atwood also began to write. By the age of six,
Atwood was writing “poems, morality plays, comic books, and an unfinished novel about
an ant” (qtd. in “Author Profile”). Ten years later, Atwood decided that she only wanted
to write. She wanted
“to live a double life; to go places I haven’t been; to examine life on earth; to come
to know people in ways, and at depths, that are otherwise impossible; to be
surprised…to give back something of what [I have] received” (qtd. in “Author
Two years after this life-altering decision, Atwood entered Victoria College at the
University of Toronto. She received her bachelor’s degree from Victoria College in 1961,
and then went on to receive her Master’s degree from Radcliffe College in Cambridge,
Massachusetts. Atwood also received education from Harvard University in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, during 1962-63 and 1965-67. In all Atwood has twelve honorary degrees
from Universities and Collage s across North America.
In 1964 Atwood published her first piece of writing Entailed The Circle Game
which she won the 1966 Governor General s Award for. From there on she published
about fifty poetry books and hundreds of poems. One Entitled November.
The sheep hangs upside down from the rope,
a long fruit covered with wool and rotting.
It waits for the dead wagon
to harvest it.
this is the imabe
you invent for me,
the dead sheep came out of your head, a legacy:(O.B.of C.V,pg350)
poems like this one are what Atwood would say was an experience she has had as a young
women growing up in the forest those eight month of the year.
Atwood written many poetry books from which she won many rewards. But her
greatest accomplishments are the many novels and short stories she had written. From the
first novel that was published in 1969 entitled The Edible Woman to one of her latest
books entitled Alias Grace which was published in 1996. In October of 1996, Publisher’s
Weekly released a book review on the Atwood novel Alias Grace. In this article, the
reviewer remarks that “Atwood has drawn a compelling portrait of what might have been”
(”Alias Grace” 1). The reviewer goes on to say that Atwood “has written a typical
Victorian novel, leisurely in exposition, copiously detailed and crowded with subtly drawn
characters who speak the embroidered, pietistic language of the time” (”Alias Grace” 1).
Atwood has also written many children s books like Princess Prunella and the
Purple Peanut which was also published in 1996 and when reviewed, described Atwood’s
jump to children’s literature as “a break from serious fiction to cut loose with this
deliciously silly romp” (”Princess Prunella” 1).
Other than writing, Atwood has also had many Occupations with many prestige
Collage s and University s. For example, recently she was employed as a lecturer of
English at the University of British Columbia at Vancouver. Atwood also instructed
English at Sir George Williams University in Montreal and was an assistant professor of
English at York University in Toronto. Atwood was also a Writer-In-Residence at the
University of Toronto and the M.F.A. Honorary Chair at the University of Alabama at
Tuscaloosa. She has also held the position of Berg Chair at New York University and was
the Writer-In-Residence at both Macquarie University at Australia and Trinity University
at San Antonio, Texas. From May, 1981 to May, 1982, Atwood was president of the
Writers’ Union of Canada and from 1984-1986, she was president of International P.E.N.
in Canada (English speaking).
Atwood life has been a writers dream, and a reality to her she has accomplished so
much in her life that she couldn t be able to remember all the awards that she has won for
her literature. Through out her life she is surrounded by and that what makes her a
talented writer and what makes her a popular writer and known through out the world. In
short, Atwood seems to please most critics and readers. Her way of weaving words and
creating worlds fascinates her audience and leaves the reader in awe and that what makes
her the greatest Canadian Author to ever live.
Alias Grace Publisher s Weekly (Online)
Author Profile: Margaret Atwood (Online)
Atwood, Margaret. Survival.
Toronto: House of Anansi Press Limited, 1972.
—. The New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.
Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1982.
Hamilton,K.A. Canadian Writes!
Toronto: The Writer s Union of Canada
Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut. Publisher s Weekly (Online)