Siren Song

June 13, 2010
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When you first read this poem, you think that the siren is simply calling for help. However, the siren goes on to say that “only you, only you can help” and “alas it is a boring song but it works every time.” From those two lines, the reader can realize that the poem itself is the song. Also, notice how the poem doesn’t have a rhyming pattern, which is often undesirable in music. Thus, the song could be considered a “boring” one.
This poem expresses the idea of just how easy it is to attract men by simply playing the damsel in distress. The sirens don’t really need help, but they pretend to need help so that they can feel needed or wanted. The duplicity of how the Siren is telling the secret of her song when actually the she is already telling the secret of her song is one of my favorite parts of this poem. I also like how it is the sailor that really needs the help, and it is the Siren who is the predator.

The connotation of this poem is one of feminism. The speaker refers to herself as “picturesque and mythical.” Also the writer of the poem, Margaret Atwood, is also a feminist.

The bird suit refers to the Sirens themselves. The Sirens were put on the island, because they were half-human (woman) and half-bird (monster). Using words, like “bird suit”, “squatting”, “feathery maniacs,” the author makes a humorous comparison.

This poem is funny, clever, and concise.

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