Themes in "Progressive Insanities of a Pioneer" Poem Review by Shaad

Themes in "Progressive Insanities of a Pioneer"
A thematic analysis of Margaret Atwood's poem "Progressive Insanities of a Pioneer".
# 129054 | 711 words | 1 source | 2009 | BD
Published by on Aug 29, 2010 in Literature (Poetry) , English (Analysis) , Literature (Canadian)

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This paper provides an analysis of Margaret Atwood's poem "Progressive Insanities of a Pioneer". It first shows how it is typically Canadian in its theme of nature vs. nurture. A close analysis of the poem follows, concentrating on the startling imagery evoked by the poet, which show the futile efforts of the pioneer to tame nature, and to impose on it the designs of philosophy and science.

From the Paper:

"The predicament of the pioneer is made clear when he is described as a mere point on a sheet of green paper, in the opening words of the poem. The green paper points towards the vast and verdant wilderness. It is indeed suggesting the infinite cosmos, "with no walls, no borders / anywhere; the sky no height / above him, totally un- / enclosed". But the pioneer, who has declared himself to be at the center of this infinite scheme of things, cannot cope with it and cries to be let out. The absurdity of the pioneer's quest is made clear here, because there can be no escape from the infinite expanse of the universe. The rest of the poem charts the inadequacies of his efforts, the persistence of nature, and the encroaching insanity of the pioneer as a result of it all. "

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