Those who commit the offense of having sex without love are solitary creatures - like lone runners, skaters, dancers - whose pleasure comes from a partner who is simply a “factor” (21), and share only in their own euphoria. Through use of simile, metaphor, and literal and figurative language, Sharon Olds reveals her disgust of those who make love without love, and also a somewhat aesthetic awe at the majesty of the act.
Sharon Olds was born in San Francisco and grew up in Berkeley, CA. She was the child of a drunken, abusive father and a meek, depressed mother, both described eloquently in her poem “The Pact”:
“like a stuck buffalo, baffled, stunned, dragging arrows in his side”, of her father;
And her mother: “wept at
noon into her one…show more content… They are extremely candid, even scandalous, and are commended and condemned alike. Her approach toward her poetry can be summed up in her quote from an interview with Dwight Garner: “I want to be able to write about any subject.” And she most certainly does. In the words of a supporter and fellow poet, Peter Redgrove, “Every poem is a wonder – strong, actual, unsentimental and without bullshit – in a world glowing with solid reality” (Kennedy). To the cynics, particularly notable critic Helen Vendler, she is self-indulgent, a sensationalist with a penchant for the salacious (Dillingham). There is eroticism present in a good many of her poems, but it is not always a pure, innocently beautiful sensuality. She is blunt, frank in her subjects, particularly in Satan Says, which is the collection “Sex Without Love” is taken from.
“How do they do it, the ones who make love without love?” (1-2) The speaker plunges right into the poem with a question that remains unanswered and sets the theme of the play. The speaker later repeats the question, wondering how the lovers can achieve their ecstasy, how they can see “God” in their climax and then the “still waters” (8-13) of the afterglow without some sort of deep emotional connection with their fellow adventurer.
“Sex Without Love” is very graphic, despite the fact that there are few bodily…show more content… When they are compared to skaters, the speaker gives no reference to any sort of togetherness. Ice skaters are generally cold, being on ice, and the simile brings to mind the coolness of a person isolated and alone. While the speaker doesn’t say it, the aloofness and isolation of dancing is implied. An image comes to mind, of a ballerina in a solo, with no attendants, no help, alone, and center-stage. The unwanted children “whose mothers are going to give them away” stir up thought of being unloved and discarded. As runners, the chill comes back: “they are like great runners: they know they are alone with the road surface, the cold, the wind…” (18-19). Nothing could be more literally or metaphorically translated than that.
“These are the true religious,
the purists, the pros, the ones who will not
accept a false Messiah, love the
priest instead of the God”