Analysis Of 'The Promise' By Sharon Olds

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To think of pulling the plug on a loved one’s life can be without a doubt unthinkable. To be denied the right to end one’s own life or be granted to live longer creates a dilemma. By just reading the title “The Promise” you’d believe this poem would be about an ordinary promise made, yet this promise shares a scary depth to it. This poem is an intriguing poem for the words, ideas, and images that are not usually talked about by people can be appreciated by many. Its meanings layered upon each other to depict deep emotions people are discussing in today’s world. The hard choice to make of ending life when it has no meaning left would be daunting. In the poem “The Promise” by Sharon Olds, this is what is asked of her, and not only of her but…show more content…
She pens “With the second drink, at the restaurant/ holding hands on a bare table” (Olds 1-2), they have either finished the meal or are waiting on the meal to arrive. Holding hands, sharing an intimate image of the two. In line three Olds writes “we are at it again/ renewing our promise to kill each other” (3-4), meaning this is not their first time talking about this subject. The couple being “at it again” (3) has a connotative twist meaning a yearly sacramental vowel between the two…show more content…
Thus is the reason for their grim recommencing of their promise to one another. Olds states to her lover “You’re a little afraid I’ll chicken out” (15-16) for she knows him well and loves him very much. The purpose of this statement is to show that she knows he has doubts in her making that hard final choice. The poet’s use of ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘we’ guides the reader to know the poem is in first person. “What you do not want is to lie in a hospital bed for a year after a stroke,” (16-18) articulates fears her lover has made known. Olds has a way of bringing images to life, for instance, she pens “without being able to think or die” (18-19). The structure of the pathos appeals to the emotions of most people. These stanzas are literal in context, meaning exactly what’s
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