Originally Posted by Dominic
My teacher only taught us the 'Conflicts' set of poems. I loved 'The man He Killed.' As for 'Photograph, I still don't understand what it really means. Can you explain?
Ugh, I didn't like Conflicts. haha. My teacher gave us a free rein to study all the poems and then narrow it down to two themes, and in the last few months, focus on the theme we were best at, so eventually, I did Relationships.
That poem's kind of abstract, with a lot of hidden meanings and different ways of looking at it. Basically it talks about how insignificant the persona feels, which is reflected by how she speaks about being just under the surface of a lake in the background, and also that she is misunderstood (referring to the part where she is a distorted image).
The whole process that she takes the reader through, from scanning the photo to finally seeing her, is meant to built suspense and also emphasize how people do not notice her. Even after she 'drowned' (which probably means that she succumbed to her problems and all), people still failed to see what she's going through.
There is a whole lot more meaning behind it, and if I'm not wrong there are a few other explanations for it, but this is part of what I understood from the poem and from the history of Margaret Atwood. I think that understanding the poet's history is sometimes key to understanding what the poem is about.