Rite Of Passage Essay

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Poetry Analysis of Sharon Olds “Rite of Passage” When first read you might speculate if the poem “The Rite of Passage” by Sharon Olds is about the celebration of ones life. I sense, however, that the author is paralleling the malice of war with disillusions about the future of children. I will illustrate how a seemingly innocent birthday party is used with irony to portray a very disturbing observation of young children. The poem “Rite of Passage” is derived from a mother dealing with her son’s loss of innocence as he begins to transform from a young child into a man. It is important to consider the sensitivity of the speaker is biased, as she discovers her son has assumed peril behaviors. Immediately the mother refers to the attendants of the party as “guests”(1), and describes them as “short men, men in the first grade” (3). In view of the fact that this is a party for her six or seven-year-old son it is ironic that she does not refer to them as children or kids. The word guests also implies that they are unfamiliar people that arrived on their own, and you feel as though this has become a serious gathering instead of a fun celebration. As the guests wait for the party to begin, there is an unfriendly vibe felt and the mother shares her sinister interpretation of young boys proving their masculinity amongst their peers. The actions of the boys are associated with those of men, “they gather in the living room/hands in pockets, they stand around” (2,5). The added age value continues to build the imagery, when “they clear their throats a lot/ they fold their arms and frown” (10,11,12). You no longer envision a party where you would expect to observe playing and collective interaction from a group of first grade boys. Instead you see something very different by depicting the way men would gather for a meeting or business like transaction. In an effort to prove ones

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