The City Planners

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The City Planners, Margaret Atwood In this poem, the poet attacks the sterile uniformity of residential suburbs. Notice that she never mentions people. ‘What offends us is the sanities’ Sanity is defined as being reasonable and of sound mind; she is referring to ‘pedantic houses’, sanitary trees’ and things that she considers to be overly controlled or constructed. She does not approve. In stanza 2, she lists ‘certain things’ that give momentary access to the landscape…’ The images she provides have the effect of disturbing the order: ‘a splash of paint’ ‘the dent in our car door’ ‘the future cracks in the plaster…’ Stanza 3 anticipates the effects of destructive power of nature ‘houses slide obliquely into clay seas’…show more content…
There is a distinct difference between the final and the first two stanzas. It conjures ideas of emotion that is real and deep, in contrast to the images of buildings, technology and progress but yet cannot be expressed. ‘My heart would not bleed poetry.’ Why do you think this is? Imagery. The poet uses building metaphors, dentistry metaphors and maths metaphors to represent the industrialisation of his city (Singapore). What is the effect of these images? How do we imagine the city? Is it a pleasant place? Think about the personification of ‘sea’ and ‘skies.’ What do these images suggest about the relationship between man and nature? What does it suggest about the relationship between The Planners and nature? Find quotes that show how modernity is destroying 1. History 2. Individuality 3. Poetry/expression/art 4. Nature 5. Identity Diction. Consider the words anaesthesia, amnesia and hypnosis. What is the poet suggesting about our future by using these words? The words ‘single drop’ and ‘stain’ extend the blood metaphor. The words ‘gridded’ ‘points’ ‘permutations’ are related to mathematics. What do these words suggest about the poet’s opinion of his city? The poem is structured in three irregular stanzas. The first line consists of three short sentences. Lines and phrases are often short and sentences do not flow except for the final stanza
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