It Is Dangerous To Read Newspapers


Atwood, Margaret




Margaret Atwood is a Canadian-born author and poet whose books include The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker prize. “It is Dangerous to Read Newspapers” is from her 1968 anthology, The Animals in That Country, and portrays a reader who is haunted by the tragedies in the newspaper and her responsibilities for them in her everyday life. Atwood’s poem explores issues of personal responsibility, social awareness, globalization, and contemplating the state of the world.

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Originally published in The Animals in That Country (1968)


Reading - Short Enough to Read Aloud.


Impact and OutcomesLove and CompassionWisdom and Contemplation

Big Questions

What is the impact of our actions - on ourselves and others?How do we define love? How do we show love?How can contemplation change our actions?What do we hope to learn from meditation or contemplation?


Taking Action

Sample Discussion Questions

  1. How did this poem make you feel?
  2. How does the speaker talk about her everyday life in comparison with the larger world?
  3. Why does the speaker claim she is the cause of the horrors she describes? Do you agree?
  4. The speaker says, “I reach out in love, my hands are guns.” What do you make of this?
  5. How do we contribute to injustices? Should we feel guilty for things that we seemingly have no control over?
  6. Do you agree that “it is dangerous to read newspapers”?
  7. Do you think it is better to be informed about the injustices around the world or to remain in the dark to things beyond your immediate experience?
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