The Victims Essay

The Victims Essay

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The process of addressing memories of private suffering within “The Victims” by Sharon Olds is implied through contradictive perspectives. In the poem there is a shift in focus and tone during line 17. The poem addresses issues of suffering from two distinct perspectives, the first coming from a little girl and the second a grown woman. The narrative, imagery and diction are different in the two contrasting parts of the poem, and the second half carefully qualifies the first, as if to illustrate the more mature and established attitudes of the narrator in her older years – a stipulation of the easy imitation of the earlier years, when the mother’s views dominated and set the tone. Change has governed the poems structure here; differences in age and attitude are supported by an entirely different point of view and frame of reference. The change in the tone of the stylistic elements used by Sharon Olds implicitly portrays the impact that suffering has on the family sphere; the complex emotions that arise because of divorce are conveyed through past and present perspectives, comparative imagery and a significant shift in tone.
The change in perspective of the narrative, from past to present, portrays the father in two different lights. The poem is told from the point of view of the daughter of a couple who experience marriage problems. The beginning of “The Victims” illustrates the memories that the woman is recalling nostalgically of her childhood. From lines 1 to 17 the narrator evokes her father, with the repetition of “you”, (1, 3) who had acted terribly during the narrator’s youth and who was abruptly kicked out and divorced by the mother. The narrator describes her father who, to his daughter, lived a luxurious and insensitive...


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...Olds to portray to the reader, through diction, the image of a drowning person. This image, after being taken, analyzed and dissected, reveals deeper connections with the narrator, the narrator’s father and society as a whole.
In conclusion, “The Victims” concerns real purposes and themes that enhance the overall text. When perceiving the term victim many people immediately think of a target of violence or abuse. In the poem “The Victims”, Olds portrays the sufferers as victims of an experience, rather than a physical scar. As a child, Sharon Olds’ parents divorced. So who is the victim in “The Victims”? As the narrative, imagery and diction evolve, from the first half to the second half of the poem, so does the classification of victim. Throughout the poem the mother, children and father are all victimized, but also made out to be the culprits.








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