The City Planners Essay Sample

The City Planners Pages
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Born in Canada in 1939, Margaret Atwood is an author, poet, critic, and essayist, feminist and social campaigner. Best known as a novelist, she is also an award-winning poetess. “The City-Planners” is critical of the monotony and false beauty of modern cities, suburbs and its architecture. The poem views modern life as empty, artificial, and its inhabitants as robotic and lacking in spirit. Analysis

i.Main Subject
The main theme is the poet’s dislike for the suburban houses that look like they have been cast in the same mould. There is no imagination or creativity seen and this uniformity offends her eye. The monotony and the silence set her on edge. There is no sound of laughter heard or any sign of life seen. The city planners are working so hard at making these cloned houses that they are not concerned about what could happen in the future to these houses. “No shouting here, or shatter of glass; nothing more abrupt  the rational whine of a power mower cutting a straight swath in the discouraged grass.”

ii.Purpose
Margaret Atwood was an environmentalist who wrote this poem to protest against the city planners who have designed suburban houses with no imagination. They celebrate monotony and uniformity. There is humor, irony and annoyance in the poem. iii.Emotions

The emotion that registers first is the annoyance the poet feels as she drives or walks along a suburb in a city where all the houses look like each other. It is repetitive and soulless. The poet feels that the city planners do not care what happens to the houses they design. The houses don’t seem lived in. iv.Technique

Stanzas are of irregular length written apparently as thoughts come into her mind. Free verse is the vehicle used by the poet. v.Structure
It starts with long stanzas, until the poet moves on to brief three line and two line stanzas. vi.Language
Easy every language written without any literary artifice marks the initial stanzas. When the poet prophecies the likely outcome of a revenge by nature, she uses metaphors. vii.Imagery

The houses are in order, systematically arranged and truly immaculate. What set the houses apart are only insignificant things – nothing material. There is no life or movement seen; it is like a dead city. In a series of metaphors, the poet sketches the consequences of such hysterical development. The houses may turn over and float away on a sea of mud due to man’s selfishness. There are already signs but no one notices them. viii.Movement / Rhythm / Sound

Moving from the long slow early stanzas, the poem picks up speed as thoughts come rushing in. Metaphors follow each other in succession.

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