Study Guide

Siren Song Secrets

By Margaret Atwood


We all like it when other people tell us their secrets. It makes us feel special and trusted. The same is true in "Siren Song" when our speaker offers to tell us her secret. She even goes so far as to say we're "unique," so we've got the added bonus of feeling special and worthy of the Siren's secret (even if, you know, it gets us killed).

  • Lines 10-12: The speaker first offers her secret here in exchange for the favor of getting her out of that "bird suit." So we know right from the beginning that this secret comes with a cost.
  • Lines 19-21: Then she repeats the fact that she'll tell the secret only to us, making us feel special. Maybe we're picking up on the flattery at this point and getting a little suspicious, but we'll believe her anyway as we "come closer" and therefore nearer to our own death.
  • Lines 22-24: Hmm. It turns out that the secret (and song) is actually a "cry for help," and of course we believe our speaker. By the end the secret incites us to play the hero and we know how well that works out when we're dealing with Sirens. (Hint: we die.)