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You Begin Analysis



Author: Poetry of Margaret Atwood Type: Poetry Views: 2008

You begin this way:

this is your hand,

this is your eye,

this is a fish, blue and flat

on the paper, almost

the shape of an eye

This is your mouth, this is an O

or a moon, whichever

you like.This is yellow.Outside the window

is the rain, green

because it is summer, and beyond that

the trees and then the world,

which is round and has only

the colors of these nine crayons.This is the world, which is fuller

and more difficult to learn than I have said.

You are right to smudge it that way

with the red and then

the orange: the world burns.Once you have learned these words

you will learn that there are more

words than you can ever learn.

The word





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

This poem is about our relentless attempts to understand the world and, paradoxically, comprehend the incomprehensible. Whatever journey this exploration takes us on we always return to what we know; the earth, ourselves (represented by the synecdoche of our hand) and death (represented by the euphemism \'end\') present more comfort and clarity than anything we can explore conceptually before we die.

| Posted on 2011-11-21 | by a guest


.: :.

newly born to this world, an infant is completely unaware of this world and its implications.Its the poet who describes the way a child is brought up. A stranger to his surroundings, he/she is introduced to the existence of objects both near and far.
....your own hand,your eyes,the colour yellow;accompanied with distant surroundings:the summer is green, which is somewhat unclear to the child
with increasing age and maturity the child gradually gets to know

| Posted on 2010-08-09 | by a guest


.: :.

Its a great poem because it simplified so complex an issue:The world,our views of it, perception, bias,freedom, limitations...etc are all raised in it. 'You begin this way' it says and shows us a childs uncensored and free view of the world and itself.How the child portrays what are close to it very clearly and what are far from it with generally accepted assumptions about the thing( e.g summer as just green).We percieve well what we've closely experienced and lable the rest with widely accepted biases.This is the world...we begin this way.Then as the child grows up and learns'words' or language things change.Language as a store house of accumulated knowledge is at once limitting and over-informing.It defines and limits our free and wild views of things and the world. It also makes us to be informed about things we havent personally experienced.So, we begin to learn it...study it...and search...seeking to master it . But to no avail.We lose our free perception in an attempt to look 'learned'or 'unbiased'. And we long for being an original thinker with its own free view of the world.And as oldage comes upon us...we sit ...and think and seeour hands...ourselves...our world as before..'this is what you will come back to , this your hand'.
I think its all about how original, innocent, genuine and free we and our perceptions of the world are in childhood and how the language and culture,education,beliefs etc of the society robs us of these that is the theme of the poem.

| Posted on 2010-05-07 | by a guest


.: :.

From my point of view this poem is about a mother who is trying to show her baby the fist steps into the big world. By starting simple as describing the colors the narrator goes further what is waiting ahead for the baby. More than that the "hand" is very important in this poem. The narrator hand is much older and it have seen more experience along the way. On the other hand the child hand is smaller and has more to learn along the way.

| Posted on 2009-06-04 | by a guest


.: :.

The narrarator of this poem cowuld be God and he is telling it from his point of view as the Creator of everything. He created man to start as a child and learn all othe basic essentials then as the child grows into the world he/she has to make their own choices in life and learn from them.

| Posted on 2009-05-22 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem can be interpreted as the journey undertaken by a mother to teach her child the ways of the world. We see that the child learns of death and destruction, represented by the mother saying that "the world burns" and of the uncomprehendable truth about self existence, that one must eventually die. As Atwood puts it, "this is what you will come back to".

| Posted on 2009-01-09 | by a guest


.: Critiques You Begin :.

Stanza one introduces two primary colors: blue and yellow, as the world is first perceived simply as color and shape. The infant's own hand is one of the first objects the child relates to. It is the means of knowing the world.
Stanza two introduces green, the combination of blue and yellow. The rain is green because it is a part of the summer greenery outside the window, inseperable from it, emanating from it. The world is simple enough to be drawn in only 9 colors.
Stanza three brings a fuller perception of the world and the color red, passion, and orange, a combination of red and yellow, two primary colors. It is autumn now, and to the child's eye, the world is on fire. It is almost too full, too bright, too much to absorb.
Stanza four brings an even more profound change, as the child discovers that earlier perceptions of the world no longer hold. Words have power in this new world. Words cast a shadow over reality, they anchor reality, solidify things in their attempt to define and determine. The child's hand is now a fist, "a small stone", held between the two hands, "two words", of the mother.
Stanza six repeats the line from stanza one, "this is your hand", and moves beyond the child to include others, "these are my hands", and beyond that the larger world, "which is round and has more colors than we can see", infinite in its complexity. I see a parent holding out and laying flat before him/her, the child's hand, palm up. Then the parent hold grasps the child's hand firmly, all encompasing, all protecting, all loving, and the roundness of their hands creates a world. This love is what enables us to face what we can not understand, helps us have the courage to try to understand the world.
Stanza seven returns to the beginning again. It, life, as a beginning and an end. The child's awareness begins with his/her own hand. That self-awareness is also what we return to again and again as we struggle to comprehend the incomprehensible.

| Posted on 2008-02-26 | by a guest


.: POem :.

I think this poem is about of how you handle the world starting from being a baby and growing up. When u are a baby you see the world very diffently all the colors and seem that no evil has entered the world but as you grow up it changed you see differently and their are conflicts and promblems. Evryone has their own ways picture and own opinion about the world it depends on a person.

| Posted on 2007-12-12 | by a guest


.: POem :.

I think this poem is about of how you handle the world starting from being a baby and growing up. When u are a baby you see the world very diffently all the colors and seem that no evil has entered the world but as you grow up it changed you see differently and their are conflicts and promblems. Evryone has their own ways picture and own opinion about the world it depends on a person.

| Posted on 2007-12-12 | by a guest


.: do i begin? :.

The diction is simple, but the meaning is not. In a way, by seeing only the "simplicity" of the poem, one is missing out on what Atwood is trying to portray. She is speaking of simple colors and only nine crayons; the physical aspects of a fish; the "this is your hand" and "this is your eye" anchors children place on objects they learn. don't understand this poem but maybe it has something to do with how we handle the world. You are right to smudge it that way with the red and then the orange: the world burns.” and is more than just colors and words, there is suffering and wisdom to learn. Atwood is saying to “smudge” your own world; your own picture into what you believe is right in this world.

| Posted on 2007-10-30 | by a guest


.: moo :.

I don't understand this poem but maybe it has something to do with how we handle the world. When she says the world is more fuller and more difficult to learn than she has said, she is saying that there is more to the world than how we shape it. When she says, "this is what you will come back to," she is saying that we can go somewhere else in our minds and we can learn of distant galaxies but what he shape on earth is what we live in and its not just these nine colors.


| Posted on 2007-10-25 | by a guest


.: my analysisss :) :.

As a child one learns about the colors of their surrounding world and the simplicity of everything. In the poem “You Begin” by Margaret Atwood, she is telling her audience the world is not as simple as a child sees it and is filled with complexity. She explains in lines 16-20, “This is the world, which is fuller and more difficult to learn than I have said. You are right to smudge it that way with the red and then the orange: the world burns.” and is more than just colors and words, there is suffering and wisdom to learn. Atwood is saying to “smudge” your own world; your own picture into what you believe is right in this world. She also states, "This is what you will come back to," that our minds can wonder and ponder of an infinitive amount of ideas but what we will always come back to is our earth, our home, and what we live in and it’s not just a few colors.

| Posted on 2007-08-23 | by a guest


.: :.

The diction is simple, but the meaning is not. In a way, by seeing only the "simplicity" of the poem, one is missing out on what Atwood is trying to portray. She is speaking of simple colors and only nine crayons; the physical aspects of a fish; the "this is your hand" and "this is your eye" anchors children place on objects they learn.

In Stanza III, Atwood writes, "This is the world, which is fuller and more difficult to learn than I have said." Atwood, through this poem, is - in short - telling people that throughout life they will need to get past what you've been taught and move on to discover new parts of the world on your own, despite your journey never having an end.

| Posted on 2005-08-24 | by Approved Guest


.: you begin... :.

I think that this poem is about the way a child is taught to see the world. At first, a child sees the world as words and objects that they have learnt and nothing more than that. This is portrayed in the poem by the first thirteen lines. Young children are innocent and naive, and believe all that is told to them by their parents. The child has no idea about the evils of the world and how complex it is. It is like they live in a protective bubble. This is described in the lines "Outside the window
is the rain, green
because it is summer, and beyond that
the trees and then the world,
which is round and has only
the colors of these nine crayons."

As the child grows older, they learn more and more about the world and that it is more than just colours and words. the begin to see the hardships of life and the evil that exists - "This is the world, which is fuller
and more difficult to learn than I have said.
You are right to smudge it that way
with the red and then
the orange: the world burns."

the child is told that the world is too complex to ever be fully understood

| Posted on 2004-10-24 | by Approved Guest


.: I think... :.

I don't understand this poem but maybe it has something to do with how we handle the world. When she says the world is more fuller and more difficult to learn than she has said, she is saying that there is more to the world than how we shape it. When she says, "this is what you will come back to," she is saying that we can go somewhere else in our minds and we can learn of distant galaxies but what he shape on earth is what we live in and its not just these nine colors.

| Posted on 2004-09-04 | by Approved Guest




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