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Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing – Margaret Atwood

face that launched one thousand ships
Helen of Troy was know as the —- —- ——– ——- —–. This shows her as the one to blame for male desires. She has become a cultural motif of male emphasis on physical beauty.

cyclical nature of objectification history repeats itself
The use of a historical figure shows the ——— ——– — ——— and the dangers that come with it as ——– ——– ———. There is no winner as the female loses as the same time as the men go to war, thus losing their lives.

paradoxical nature holder of great power submission contemporary parallel
The myth shows the ———- ——— of Helen, as well as other women in mythology. As they both the ——- — —– —– and in a position of ———– concurrently, placing her in a ————- ———- of the power structure afforded to an exotic dancer.

revisionary mythopoesis
Term describing the revisiting of myths through re-imagination of poetry.

phallocentric logocentric hegemonic bourgeois
The poem attempts to subvert the ———— and ———– nature of commonplace mythology instilled by the ———- ————-.

atwood barthes cannot be killed replaced with updated ones
—— states with reference to —— that old myths ———- — ——- so must be ———- —- ———- —-.

ostriker codified images divine demonic retrieved images instructions for survival
——- states that these revisionary poems do away with the ———- —— imposed by males in favour of what women find ——– and ———- in themselves. They are ——— ——— of what women have suffered historically and in some cases are ———– — ———.

ostriker at into up at unlearning submission
——- stats that revisionary female poets are looking — or —- but never — — sacred things, thus ———- ———.

atwood howell’s contemporary contemporary mind
—— agrees with ——– stance on the postmodern domestification of myth, saying that is impossible to write something uninfluenced by the ———– with a ———– —-, due to the limitations of living within present society.

The poem is an example of this, meaning a fiction which references another fiction.

entrapping social determinism creative medium of dance atwood’s creative medium of poetry self referential
Helen escapes from the ———– ——- ———- of the patriarchy through the ——- ——— — —–. This is mirrored by ——– ——– ——– — —— thus the poem is —- ———-.

morning in the burned house
Name of the anthology where this poem is found.

atwood version of truth narrators point of view their truth
—— states that every version of myth is a ——— — —–, meaning that every narrative takes the ——— —– — —-, thus becoming —– —–.

roland barthes hides historical origin of ideas and beliefs crystallising unquestionable truths
—— ——- view of mythology states that it —– the ——— —— — —– — ——-, thus ——— some of their concepts as ———– ——.

keating conscious subconscious cultural memory
——- says that Atwood enters both the ———- and ———- of the reader, effecting their ———- ——– and creating a new myth from the old one through revisionist feminist mythology.

free verse dance subtle repetitions varying content freedom unpredictability
The formal choice of —- —— represents Helen’s —–, with —– ——– and largely —— ——— it also represents the ——- she gains through this dance. The lack of rhyme, rhythm, meter and syntax represent this freedom and ————-.

world is full of women should be ashamed of myself people
‘The —– — —- — —— who’d tell me I ——- — ——— — ——–‘ Quote showing the socialisation of women, the subject was changed from —— in the drafting process, taking a more pointed stance on this and the lack of unity in women’s groups.

first person present tense personal immediacy
—— —— ——- —— narration style grounds the poem in ——– ———–.

manipulated manipulator
Helen can be seen as both ——– and ———. All of her power is derived from the men’s lust, once this is gone she will be powerless again – however it is implicit that this is far from happening.

minimum wage varicose veins just standing in one place glass counter
‘And ———- —-, and ——– ——, —- ——– — — —— for eight hours behind a —– ——–‘ Quote showing the unequal job opportunities for women and the imprisoning determinism enforced by social power structures. Varicose veins high placement on the list shows emphasis on good lucks to survive in the economy.

glass counter glass ceiling
The —– ——- represents the —– ——– of limitation for females in the workplace. While women reject Helen’s form of empowerment, she dances above them in terms of power on the glass counter that they are stuck behind.

naked as a meat sandwich
‘instead of —– — – —- ———-‘ Sexual metaphor, reclaiming of her own sexuality. Sexual pun and the idea of the woman as something to be consumed, a product and something temporary that once she has been eaten up there will be nothing of interest left for the male.

exploited yes any way you cut it subvert typical power structure
‘———, they’d say. —, — — — — –‘ Quoting showing that exploitation of women is omnipresent, at least the speaker is aware of her exploitation and gaining from it. Here she attempts to ———- the ——– —– ———.

I’ll take the money perpetuates patriarchal hold
‘But I’ve a choice of how, and — —- — ——‘ Quote showing that capitalism necessitates the speakers role and ——— the ———- —-.

like preachers, i sell vision
‘I do give value. —- ——-, – —- ——-.’ Quote showing a knock at religion, possibly for its role in solidifying the patriarchy. The comparison of selling false, unattainable visions. Pretense.

perfume ads piecemeal
‘like ——- —, desire or its facsimile’ Quote showing her abstracting herself into an advertisement. Not selling the whole but the ——– mentioned later.

their worst suspicions that everything’s for sale
‘I sell men back —– —— ———-: —- ——— — —-‘ Quote criticising the banality of a society where everything can be bought and sold at an increasingly endless cycle. Also response to critics of her trade, as it is male driven.

chain-saw murder
‘They gaze at me and see a ——— —— just before it happens’ Quote showing that men’s gaze is equatable with violence. Violent male fantasy.

thigh ass inkblot crevice tit nipple voyeuristic gaze
‘When —–, —, ——, ——–, — and —— are still connected.’ Quote showing the imposition of cultural ideas onto a natural body and sexualisation of natural form in western society. Parodies, in words, the ———- —- shot of film. However in terms of empowerment this makes her intangible and hard to nail down, fitting thematically with the poem thus keeping her true self elusive from the males to which she sells her false self.

rows of heads upturned eyes synecdote
‘Seeing the —- — —– and ——– —, imploring’ Quote using ——– to dehumanise her audience, implying that they are not worth more than the sum of their parts which mirrors the objectification she receives by society.

ready to snap at my ankles
‘Imploring but —— — —- — — ——‘ Quote showing inherent fear of men and comparing men to animals.

understand floods and earthquakes urge to step on ants
‘I ——— —– — ———-, and the —- — —- — —-‘ Quote playing on the Greek God’s tendency to smite people through natural disasters. Helen shares the urge to impose her power through destruction.

music smells like foxes
‘The —– —— —- —–, crisp as heated metal searing the nostrils’ Quote showing that the strip club share the atmosphere of the hunt. Also associates the dancers with slyness and trickery.

looted city the day after paradigm masculine aggression
‘As a ——- —- — — ——–‘ Quote showing the sacking of troy. The aim of the narrative is not to escape the ——— of ———- ——— as this too big a task, but simply to instill a narrative voice in those who have none.

when all the rape’s been done
‘As a looted city the day after, —- — — —- —- —-‘ Quote describing the rape during city sieges, the simplicity of the monosyllabic language emphasises the it as a routine activity and compounds the shock factor.

survivors wander around looking for garbage to eat
‘And the ——– —– ——- ——- — ——- — —‘ Quote comparing the exotic dancing to the consumption of garbage, the means to survive in a hostile environment but at what personal cost.

smiling tires me out the most
‘Speaking of which, it’s the ——– —– — — — —-‘ Quote which is extendable to society as a whole, female pretense to please males.

a foreigner to them
‘because I’m after all – ———- — —-.’ Quote showing the desire for two way communication through comparison to two linguistically incompatible peoples.

speech here is all warty gutturals
‘The ——- —- — — —– ——–‘ Quote highlighting disease and the implicit dangers of sex and comparing masculine communication to something primitive, limited and ape-like.

mother was raped by a holy swan you believe that you can take me out to dinner
‘My ——- — —— — – —- —-. — ——- —-? — — —- — — — ——-.’ Quote referencing Helen’s birth as her mother was raped by Zeus in the form of a swan. The acceptance of the dinner date depends on the acknowledgement of male sexual aggression and rape culture, suggesting that only progressive thinking men will be rewarded in any way.

we tell all the husbands a lot of dangerous birds around
‘That’s what — —- — — ——–. There sure are – — — ———- —– ——–.’ Quote showing the victims of marginalisation demonised and shown to be dangerous in their sexuality, when married men are in the wrong for actively visiting – all achieved through dangerous birds pun.

anyone here but you would understand
‘Not that ——– —- — — —– ———.’ Quote showing that the empowered women and reasonable men are in the minority. Possibly talking to a male customer, possibly Paris himself. The subject being spoken to highlights the aspects of the poem as a performance, linking it to the dance. The specific you and I personal approach relates to the specific understanding relationship which men and women must foster in order to dispel the necessitation of the hostile environment of the poem.

reduce me to components clock factory or abattoir
‘———- — — ———— as in a —– ——– — ———‘ Quote showing objectification, comparing women to a mass produced product bound for consumption and equating the consumption with death.

wall me up alive in my own body
‘—- — — —- — — — —-‘ Quote showing the emphasis on body over mind, entrapment in a silent aesthetically pleasing shell.

like to see through me nothing is more opaque than absolute transparency
‘They’d —- — — —— –, but ——– — —- —– —- ——– ——–‘ Quote showing male confusing arising from non-typical sexuality. Opaqueness here stand for the opposite of male desire, so the desire goes when the women has and uses her own voice and thoughts. A didactic message that women should be absolutely transparent, both in having their own opinions and in not pandering to male desires, instead being transparent in their views.

i’m rising i hover six inches in the air
‘Like breath or a balloon, — ——, – —– — —— — — —‘ Quote showing rising above masculine oppression and the stigma of her work. Quite literally, as the raising implied is through the apparatus of the dancing pole.

blazing swan-egg of light
‘In my ——- ——– — ——-‘ Quote showing again the reference to rape by Zeus, she is the child of sexual violence but refuses to be crushed by her history – instead being empowered by it.

The term for the reading of symbols

jung collective unconsciousness ego culture atwood
—-‘s theory of ——— ———- means we as readers use semiotics to attribute shape and meaning within texts. The unconscious is said to be far superior to the — or I, which is shaped by ——- and ours, says —— is closed and fed on systems of power which are incredibly difficult to escape.

you think i’m not a goddess try me
‘— —– — — – ——-? — –.’ Quote contradicting the lack of self-respect assertion that we see at the beginning of the poem, she has the utmost respect and esteem for herself. Also invites the reader to doubt, aware of the implicit consequences of such a judgement, thus fulfilling the seductress archetype in a progressive manor. Also implies an underestimation of the female aesthetic to cause harm/damage.

this is a torch song touch me and you’ll burn
‘—- — – —– —-. —– — — —– —-.’ Quote showing an empowering final statement, the song in question is also a song of unrequited love but in this the love that goes un-returned is that of her ‘beery worshippers’. Shows the consequences of seeking unwanted ownership.

passionate vengeance objectification only source of power dichotomy of power transposing mythical figures to modern day didactic message
The fire which Helen burns with ——- ——– is fueled only by her ————, whilst she is trapped by male lust it is also her —- —— — ——-. Despite her negative feelings towards men ironically, even when she distances herself from then through anger they are source of her power. This shows emphatically the hopelessness of her position. The ——— — —— represents, through ———- — —— ——– — —— — their gain in power since then but echoes the fact that they still lie below men, this is a clear ——– ——–.


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