Linda Pastan And Sharon Olds Essay

The poems “Ethics” and “35/10” by Linda Pastan and Sharon Olds are
surprisingly alike. Each poem tells a story with the speaker being the author.

She speaks directly to the audience. Although the number of lines differ, the
appearance and length of each line and the appearance of each poem as a whole is
very similar. The tones are similar, since both are reflective and somewhat
pensive. The language and diction in both poems are simple and understandable.

We will write a custom essay sample on
Linda Pastan And Sharon Olds Essay
or any similar topic only for you
Order now

The authors interest is telling her story, and that is evident. Sharon Olds’
poem, “35/10” is a narrative poem about a mother’s realization that she is
aging as her daughter is blooming. The mother is the speaker, which is also the
author, and she speaks directly to the audience. The tone is admiring, maternal,
pensive, reflective, and nostalgic. It is structured as an 18 line poem, each
line being of almost equal length. The fact of there being 18 lines may
symbolize youth, as the age 18 is the prime of one’s youth. The movement of
the poem is very fluid. It’s chronological flow takes the audience from the
beginning when the mother notices her daughter, to where she wonder’s why they
bloom as mother’s begin to wilt, to finally understanding that it is to
replace the mother. The title simply represents the ages, the mother being 35
and the daughter being 10. The diction helps emphasize the difference between
the mother and daughter. Words such as gray, silver, dry pitting, and dud
represents the mother, while silken, flower, full, and round represent the
daughter. There is imagery that helps the audience see the difference as well as
the mother in the mirror. For example, in lines 9-10, “she opens like a small
pale flower on the tip of a cactus”, or “last chances to bear a child are
falling through my body, the duds among them”. This deepens the contrast.

Linda Pastan’s poem, “Ethics” is a narrative poem as well. The author, who
is the speaker, tells the audience a story of her lesson of ethics. As a young
woman, she had an Ethics class, but in the end the lesson the teacher attempted
to teach, was only learned by the author’s own experience. The tone is
reflective, pensive and appreciative. The poem consists of 25 almost equal
lines. The poem moves fluidly as the author herself changes from the beginning
to the end. It develops from her memory of the class, to years later in a museum
where she remembers her discussion of the class years before. It chronologically
tells the audience that she goes from not knowing what to do, to understanding
the real answer. The title “Ethics” shows that she didn’t understand the
true meaning of the word from her class, but through age, wisdom, and
experience. The diction consists of simple words that flow. The imagery is in
the description of the painting in the museum, she states, “The colors within
the frame are darker than autumn, darker even than winter – the browns of the
earth, though earth’s most radiant elements burn through the canvas” which
allows the audience to envision the painting with her. In conclusion, the two
poems differ in the way the story is being told, but are similar in many other
ways. Both poems tell a story of coming of age, but in different fashions. The
structures, the diction, the tones, and even the movement are alike. Both are
narrative poems with the speaker being the authors.


Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out