In the poem, the poet talks of she went back in time for a mission meant to stop her parents from dating and bearing her as their daughter. She starts by describing how met their parents in the year 1937; she says that she found them standing at the entrance of the college (line 1). The poet employs the use of metaphor to describe the environment in which her parents were; this was perhaps to excite the readers. The poet describes the tiles which her father walked in to contain blood, this signified colour red (Line 5). This statement is to explain the red tiles in which her father walked towards her mother. Use of metaphors by Olds was to capture the mind of the reader and entangle their imagination in the poem. The narrator uses blood to define the environment in which her parents were standing, leaving the readers uneasy and suspicious on what to expect ahead. Through the choice of words by the poet makes the situation at which her parents met awkward and unexpected. In a real sense, no one would expect the use of such language, especially in a college environment.
The poem is full of contradicting ideas; the narrator intended to make sure that she was never born but later changes her mind as she observes her parents. She says that at that time her parents were not aware of anything that could happen in the future when they get a child (Line 11). Through this statement, the reader cannot determine who the parents will hurt in the future. However, the events that unfold later confirms that the parents would hurt children and have a difficult life. The narrator goes ahead to say that she would like to be born that's why she does not do anything to separate her parents. This poem is full of uncertainty as the reader is being left in suspense as they read each line of the poem. However, the concluding events can only be determined after one reads the whole poem.
High School Senior
In this poem, Sharon Olds describes an emotional feeling towards her daughter's departure to college. At first, she says that her daughter had become an essential thing in her life which she could not go without; she was a basic need (10). The poet could not figure how she would live without her who had become part of her life. Going to college to the mother was like losing her daughter forever. The writer uses imagery and symbolism to show how devastated the mother was. This shows how the daughter she had issues giving birth to had become part of her life. The poet uses ethos and pathos to express her feeling of love and sadness at the same time. The daughter she had seen grows for seventeen years was now a grown lady and was leaving for college. However, how much she loved her, she had to let go.
Sharon Olds is full of surprises; she presents contrasting feelings in the same poem. The mother had been reluctant in giving birth to the child but came to love her. It is ironical how the mother did not want to give to her daughter, but now that she is leaving for college she feels sad. These contrasting feelings, however, are being represented in two different periods of the life of the narrator. The narrator could not have imagined how her life would turn to be when she gave birth to her daughter (20). The narrator says in her youthful age when she was pregnant could not imagine what would become of her life with a child. The poet uses language that is harsh to describe what was running through her mind before when she learned her daughter would leave. There are beings which give birth to young ones and never get the chance to see them again while others have little time to spend with their young ones (24). The narrator consoles herself that there some creatures who give birth and let go of their children forever, she feels that it's just for a while. She, however, does not understand how she came to love her daughter that much despite not wanting her at birth.
The rhetorical modes used in this paper are an exposition in which it describes the poems by Sharon Olds. This is to analyse the poems and the mode of writing by Sharon Olds. She uses literary devices such as metaphor, symbolism, and imagery in both poems, (I go back to May 1937 and high school senior). The use of exposition helps in understanding the writing skills of Sharon Olds as a poet. She uses great literature skills that capture the mind of the reader in reading her poems. Mostly her poems are known for presenting contradicting ideas that excite the readers and needs extra knowledge in understanding their meaning. The two poems by Sharon are talking about a family and parenting. However the first was in the version of a daughter while the second was in the version of a mother. Sharon is a writer who employs description to bring visual aspects in her poems to the mind of the reader as seen in the two poems.
Dubois, Matt. "Literary Analysis: Assessing The Imagery Of Sharon Olds' Poetry." Associated Content. N.p., 22 Mar 200
Kenni Michels High School Senior by Sharon Olds2012Olds, Sharon. "I Go Back to May 1937." Literature: A Portable Anthology. Ed. Janet E. Gardner. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009. Print
Sharon, Olds.Sharon Olds: Online Poems. Modern American poetry. 2017.
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