The Life Of Margret Atwood Essay Research

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.

Mournful November

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.

Work Cited

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)



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