Margaret Atwood’s “Letter to
Margaret Atwood’s “Letter to
a. Atwood’s Canadian/American background requires her to be diplomatic when discussing these topics, and her opinions may be based on some validity, but her reasoning for them is not valid.
II. summary of Atwood’s essay
Atwood is a Canadian writer with American ties. She is obviously tied to
clipped tone implies that she is more than just a little angered by the changes
b. Her simple sentences, her use of syntax, also affect the reader. She makes her points very short and straight to the issue at hand.
i. “You’re gutting the Constitution” (164).
ii. “You’re running up a record level of debt” (164).
iii. “You’re torching the American economy” (164).
Atwood implies that the
does have some very good points that seem to ring true on a first read of her
“Letter.” She begins with a happy,
reminiscent tone while discussing the past, and she changes her style to an
aggressive, offensive attack as she discusses the present state of
She mentions the positive things that
ii. She mentions problems with the Patriot Act that exist today – all of which seem to be valid points that go against our Constitution
She does point out her belief that our tactics in
Atwood then mentions a few negatives like God on our
money. She acknowledges that this has
been going on since the beginning of the establishment of
language discussing the way
b. She also uses a clipped, choppy tone to discuss main points.
i. The gutting of the constitution (164)
ii. Running up a record level of debt (164)
iii. Torching the American Economy (164)
c. Her points seem a bit awkward in her use of examples.
i. What does God on our money have to do with us as a nation?
Also, what does Mickey Mouse and movie stars have to do
with economical and governmental stability.
We are still the land of opportunity, and we still have many great
movies, movie stars, authors, modern books, etc. These things should not be what we base our
d. Atwood seems to neglect the negativity throughout the years. If her purpose is to show the changes, she needs to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. The pop culture of the past should be compared to the pop culture of now. And, the foreign policy and economics of the past should be compared to those things of today. Examples are:
i. The great depression
9/11 as an invasion in the
Military tactics –
iv. Slavery – and the fact that it was not discussed realistically until the 80’s in textbooks
VI. The audience of Atwood’s “Letter to
language and syntax she used was specifically to get those in power to make
changes to improve the
i. Atwood uses a simple sentence
structure to reiterate her points on the downhill fall of
ii. Her thesis also focuses on the
audience intended because she is trying to show specific Americans that the
past was better and
a. This is especially true when she discusses the city on hill becoming a slum and the democracy a sham
b. However, her original use of the pop culture of the past hurt her thesis because she was not comparing similar events.
VII. Atwood’s essay is effective in a first read. It states many points that the average American or Canadian might agree with; however, once the essay is examined at a deeper level, one can see that different issues were overlooked or eliminated so that the author could make her points.
e. The author has a few valid points that one would agree with, but one may find that she needs to develop them more fully if she wants her entire audience, Americans and Canadians, to agree with her.
i. She needs to acknowledge events like the great depression.
ii. She needs to consider the reasons for such actions, like the Patriot Act due to the terror threats of 9/11.
iii. Atwood also needs to realize that as times change, so does the economy
iv. She failed to fill in all of the background information, thus her argument was ineffective.