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Paper Topic:

Rites of Passage by Sharon Olds

Unpeaceful Transition

According to Daina Savage , death and life are always intertwined in Sharon Olds ' works . And so , her Rites of Passage ' must also deal with the darkness we associate with death . Olds writes that the son at the birthday party , with six and seven year olds as guests , claims aloud that the children at the party are capable of killing a two year old And yet , the birthday party is a celebration of the very same son 's life

Savage is partly correct when she states that Olds writes of life

br in its entirety the good with the bad ' While it is true that the Rites of Passage ' mingles the good with the bad , by merging the unpeaceful image of war with the light of life that the birthday party is meant to represent - it is untrue that Olds is writing of life in its entirety . On the contrary , the poet does not express anything to imply that the boys at the party may have anything peaceful on their minds The young boys are going through a transition during which their innocence is marred by gender specific violence that we associate with the macho male as seen on television . All the same , it is impossible to believe that all of the young boys are truly violent individuals who would actually go on to commit crimes against the innocent at their age of transition . Hence , it is obvious that Olds has a tunnel vision . In other words , she does not write about life in its entirety . Rather , she views the young boys as though all of them would one day become military men , if not terrorists , fighting a world war . There is nothing very peaceful in Olds ' view of the boys . There is nothing truly innocent , or positive either , about the boys , according to Olds . And so , Savage has written : Olds is a poet for whom nothing is sacred . or perhaps , for whom all is sacred ' Although the first part of this statement can be agreed with at least , Rites of Passage ' lacks a focus on the sacred Besides referring to the birthday party as a celebration of the son 's life , there is nothing


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sacred to be viewed in the poem . Perhaps this is because there is nothing sacred beyond life in any case . Even so , Olds ' perspective at the birthday party is seriously negative . There is no feeling of caring among the young boys at the party

Savage has further written about Olds works : She treats her subjects with such honesty and power , that what might have seemed vulgar or cruel , becomes breathtakingly beautiful ' The Rites of Passage is certainly very well composed . It is also a fact that the poet has treated her subject with power , and made the boys appear as vulgar and cruel . However , the poet is not being honest in her depiction of the young boys . Her understanding of their behavior and their minds is too narrow . A perfect...

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