Margaret Atwood’s poem “You Fit Into Me” is a warning against women rather than a poem against men. It is either the perception and poor judgment, or the strong love for her abuser that betrays the speaker of the poem. The point of view of the male involved is not even mentioned in this poem which is short, but rich in imagery. Though the poem is about a man’s physical abuse of a woman, it is the way that the woman is “hooked” that ultimately submerges her into the abusive relationship.
The poem is only four lines long following an abcb rhyme scheme. The last word of each line “b” is in fact, the same word “eye.” However, being only one stanza long, there is no way in predicting if Atwood intends this poem to rhyme, or to follow a blank verse format. However, she opts for only four lines because they are adequate in providing the desired effect, which can be described initially as humor which turns quickly into dismay. This changing of emotions happens in a split second as the poem moves from second to third line. The rhythm and structure of the poem contributes into the suggestion of its meanings. It makes use of lexical ambiguity which enables the poet to suggest various interpretations at the same time.
“You fit into me, like a hook into an eye” (lines 1-2) presents a seemingly ideal relationship. Through a simile, the relationship between the speaker and her beloved is compared to a hook and an eye. The hook and the eye in clothes are designed to fit together. Therefore, the relationship being talked about seems to be harmonious, involving two people who complement each other. At second glance, “a hook into an eye” may present a darker interpretation. This may be referring to violent sex. The “hook” may mean a powerful punch, which the dominant male is making use during sexual intercourse. Though the hook and the eye may mean something else altogether in fashion, the first time someone hears “hook” and “eye” together, it is the pain that is first perceived. The “hook” can be especially painful as it tears into flesh, while the eye is an especially sensitive part of the human body. For such sexual abuse to match the phrase “fit…into an eye” is indeed disturbing. If the speaker has this interpretation in mind, she must have felt that the beatings are somewhat necessary for the relationship to work.
In the second half of the poem, the speaker continues: “A fish hook, an open eye” (lines 3-4). This portion vindicates the reader who has perceived some violence in the first half. It also provides more insight into what kind of relationship the speaker is in. This says that she has entered the relationship as a wide eyed, innocent and love struck woman who has become her abuser’s catch for that day. The “open eye (line 4)” may also be describing a split or bruised eye caused by punching. The last two lines provide the relationship a menacing sense by giving a metaphor for predator and prey.
Although the projected image of the man is indeed fearsome, Atwood’s primary message is not about hating all men. The poem is, on the other hand, written to illustrate how a woman can be so “hooked” into a relationship that she becomes blind to the reality that she has fallen for a physically abusive man. It can also mean that the woman has been “hooked” by a charming man into believing that he is the most suitable man for her and that they do fit together “like a hook into an eye” (line 2). The “you” in “You Fit into Me” is not a representation of all men, but rather, an example of only one type of man. Therefore, Atwood has written this poem to warn women from being too trusting, and finally from thinking that physical abuse in a relationship is all right.
Atwood, M. (n.d.). You Fit Into Me. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from UC Berkeley: