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Poetry critical review of "The Victims"

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Introduction

Juanita Chacon Poetry and Poetics November 1, 2004 Dr. Schnebly "The Victims" Sharon Olds In a society where divorce is common, some family members find it hard to cope with. In the first half of "The Victims," it sounds like a young child is telling the experience regarding her parents' divorce. "The Victims," by Sharon Olds, demonstrates the differences of tears, anger, and other emotions. By using different aspects of interpretation, mainly the use of language, tone, speaker, and some imagery was used in the poem to help the readers have an understanding of the sadness, anger, hope and despair suggested in the poem so that it could be observed through the usage of words. The speaker in Sharon Olds's poem "The Victims" did not really designate who the speaker was; however since Sharon Olds wrote it maybe the speaker was she telling of her own life experiences. In several places within my essay I will refer to the speaker as "her" or "she" because I feel Sharon Olds telling this story in a poem. The speaker expresses much hate and anger towards her father. The speaker is describing to the reader what she saw and heard with her own ears and eyes. ...read more.

Middle

The language use of the poem that Olds uses with the simile between the father and Nixon may be an analogy to how the "father" of the country and the father of a family, head of a nation and head of a household both have to leave due to infidelity - one being unfaithful to millions, the other to his wife and children. The speaker compares the incident with the father getting fired to "when Nixon's helicopter lifted...the last time." The feeling here was that of remorse, yet the country knew Nixon had to leave. That same feeling of remorse is what the speaker felt when the father was kicked out and lost his job that same feeling is depicted in this statement. The speaker also expresses happiness about the fact that those things of material value their father were taken away. She is concerned over whether they would take away his suits. To her this is the only symbol of her father's identity that she remembers, and if they took the suits away, it would be an end to the years of silence. Maybe the speaker felt that if the suits were taken away, then maybe her father would seek another type of job and not be so distant. ...read more.

Conclusion

They can incite laughter or tears, anger or serenity, fear or reassurance, hope or despair. These feelings are unable to be helped or coached. They happen naturally and without thought. The responses that each reader gives, however, is quite different. These are thought about long and hard. They are the "whys" of a poem's affect on us. Why do they give us whatever feeling it is they give us? Why do we cry at one poem and laugh at another? Why and how do we, as the reader, get into the poem? That's exactly what this poem did for me as I read it. The intonation and feeling of the poem caught my attention and reflected on my life as well. That is why I chose this poem because I can relate to the feelings. The sense of language, tone, and speaker that Sharon Olds displayed in her poem "The Victims" are very strong in order for we as the reader to interpret the poem and have a better understanding of it. Olds helps the reader come to a conclusion, and the unconscious feelings one receives from a poem, whether they be physical, emotional, or otherwise. As a reader we can never help how we feel about a poem nor can we help how a poem has touched us. ?? ?? ?? ?? jchacon1 ...read more.

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