Essay on Poem Variation on the Word Sleep by Margret Atwood

918 Words Jul 13th, 2008 4 Pages
February 19, 2000
Analyzing a Poem
Variation on the Word Sleep by Margret Atwood This is a poem about going into a dream. The speaker wants to sleep with a loved one and go into their dream and protect them from the subconscious fears. The speaker also wants to bring the loved one back from the dream safely and shelter that person. The speaker wants to be very important in the other person's life. The poem's idea is clear in but the poem has a lot of words that help readers understand her message. Some of the meanings are literal, and some are topological. The different use of words in this poem help the reader to experience what the speaker is feeling.
Literal meanings are words that don't have hidden meanings. Words like
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The speaker is repetitive with the words "I would like" obviously she cannot go into the dream with the loved one, but she may someday sleep with them. She would like to be as important to this person as air is, it does not say if the other person feels the same.
Each part of the poem has significant meaning. Lines 5-7 explain that the speaker wants to travel with her loved one into their sleep. These lines describe the journey into sleep. The speaker describes the entrance into the dream as easy to enter and smooth as if she were actually entering.
In lines 8-9 the speaker goes into the fantasy part of the dream. She describes a wavering forest and blue green leaves. The descriptions are fantasy because forests aren't wavering and leaves are not blue-green. The forest also has significant meaning because in dreams you confront your subconscious feelings the forest symbolizes the many feelings and thoughts.
Lines 10-11 go deeper into the dream using the word cave to mean subconscious and the word descend to mean go deeper. These lines deal with the subconscious fears that come up during deep sleep. The speaker understands that the loved one has to work through the fears to emerge through the dream.
When the speaker refers to the "small white flower" and the "silver branch" in lines 13-14 she is trying to help the loved one cope with the fear in the dream and help be a guide. They show

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