Linda Pastan And Sharon Olds Essay Research

Linda Pastan And Sharon Olds Essay, Research Paper

The poems ?Ethics? and ?35/10? by Linda Pastan and Sharon Olds are

surprisingly alike. Each poem tells a story with the speaker being the author.

She speaks directly to the audience. Although the number of lines differ, the

appearance and length of each line and the appearance of each poem as a whole is

very similar. The tones are similar, since both are reflective and somewhat

pensive. The language and diction in both poems are simple and understandable.

The authors interest is telling her story, and that is evident. Sharon Olds?

poem, ?35/10? is a narrative poem about a mother?s realization that she is

aging as her daughter is blooming. The mother is the speaker, which is also the

author, and she speaks directly to the audience. The tone is admiring, maternal,

pensive, reflective, and nostalgic. It is structured as an 18 line poem, each

line being of almost equal length. The fact of there being 18 lines may

symbolize youth, as the age 18 is the prime of one?s youth. The movement of

the poem is very fluid. It?s chronological flow takes the audience from the

beginning when the mother notices her daughter, to where she wonder?s why they

bloom as mother?s begin to wilt, to finally understanding that it is to

replace the mother. The title simply represents the ages, the mother being 35

and the daughter being 10. The diction helps emphasize the difference between

the mother and daughter. Words such as gray, silver, dry pitting, and dud

represents the mother, while silken, flower, full, and round represent the

daughter. There is imagery that helps the audience see the difference as well as

the mother in the mirror. For example, in lines 9-10, ?she opens like a small

pale flower on the tip of a cactus?, or ?last chances to bear a child are

falling through my body, the duds among them?. This deepens the contrast.

Linda Pastan?s poem, ?Ethics? is a narrative poem as well. The author, who

is the speaker, tells the audience a story of her lesson of ethics. As a young

woman, she had an Ethics class, but in the end the lesson the teacher attempted

to teach, was only learned by the author?s own experience. The tone is

reflective, pensive and appreciative. The poem consists of 25 almost equal

lines. The poem moves fluidly as the author herself changes from the beginning

to the end. It develops from her memory of the class, to years later in a museum

where she remembers her discussion of the class years before. It chronologically

tells the audience that she goes from not knowing what to do, to understanding

the real answer. The title ?Ethics? shows that she didn?t understand the

true meaning of the word from her class, but through age, wisdom, and

experience. The diction consists of simple words that flow. The imagery is in

the description of the painting in the museum, she states, ?The colors within

the frame are darker than autumn, darker even than winter – the browns of the

earth, though earth?s most radiant elements burn through the canvas? which

allows the audience to envision the painting with her. In conclusion, the two

poems differ in the way the story is being told, but are similar in many other

ways. Both poems tell a story of coming of age, but in different fashions. The

structures, the diction, the tones, and even the movement are alike. Both are

narrative poems with the speaker being the authors.


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