English - Theme

What is the theme of Margaret Atwood's At the Tourist Centre in Boston?

I am having a hard time figuring this out. I need to write about the theme of this poem for an essay question.

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  1. https://www.google.com/search?q=%22At+the+Tourist+Centre+in+Boston%22+theme

    I've never read this, but one of these sites might help.

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  2. I have tried that, and I still can't find and am having a hard time figuring it out. Thanks anyway for trying.

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  3. Poem:
    This is my country under glass,
    a white relief-
    map with red dots for cities,
    reduced to the size of a wall
    and beside it 10 blownup snapshots
    one for each province,
    in purple-browns and odd reds,
    the green of the trees dulled;
    all blues however
    of an assertive purity.

    Mountains and lakes and more lakes
    (through Quebec is a restaurant and Ontario the empty
    interior of the parliament buildings),
    With nobody climbing the trails and hauling out
    the fish and splashing in the water
    but arrangements of grinning tourists--
    look here, Saskatchewan
    is a flat lake, some convenient rocks
    where two children pose with a father
    and the mother is cooking something
    in immaculate slacks by a smokeless fire,
    her teeth white as detergent.

    Whose dream is this, I would like to know:
    is this a manufactured
    hallucination, a cynical fiction, a lure
    for export only?
    I seem to remember people,
    at least in the cities, also slush,
    machines and assorted garbage. Perhaps
    that was my private mirage

    which will just evaporate
    when I go back. Or the citizens will be gone,
    run off to the peculiarly-
    green forests
    to wait among the brownish mountains
    for the platoons of tourists
    and plain their odd red massacres.

    Unsuspecting
    window lady, I ask you:

    Do you see nothing
    watching you from under the water?

    Was the sky ever that blue?

    Who really lives there?

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  4. Sometimes a work can have more than one theme. One that might work for this poem is probably centered on these lines:

    Whose dream is this, I would like to know:
    is this a manufactured
    hallucination, a cynical fiction, a lure
    for export only?


    Notice that she's referring to a map of Canada, but it's on a wall in a building in Boston. She sees her country reduced to a map with the colors of things far different from what she has seen. Basically, she is comparing what she has seen and knows to this image that attempts to let others know where various places are. Thus she asks the questions above.

    How will you phrase a theme from this?

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  5. I don't know...People cover up what is really there?

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  6. "cover up" implies a negative motive. Do you think the people who made and posted the map intended it to be negative?

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  7. No

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  8. So it's different perceptions then: hers from real life in Canada, and the mapmakers' who are trying to indicate where different things and people are.

    How will you phrase that into a theme?
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theme

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  9. Oh! So, one's own point of view is different from what another interprets it?

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  10. Exactly!

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  11. Yay!! Thank you so much!!

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  12. You're very welcome!

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  13. I think if you are looking for a specific word for the theme, you should use "artificiality"

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