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This essay is about the metaphorical use of mathmatics in "The On...

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This essay is about the metaphorical use of mathmatics in "The One Girl at The Boys Party" by Sharon Olds

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  • April 11, 2002
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The Emergence of Femininity in "The One Girl at The Boys Party" by Sharon Olds.

"The One Girl at The Boys Party" by Sharon Olds is about the personal journey of

the discovery of feminine sexuality in the life of an adolescent female. In this confusing

journey mathematics are used metaphorically to describe the girls new found sexuality.

The girl attempts to deny the emergence of her femininity though the impersonal use of

mathematics in order to intellectually repress her true sexual being.

The girl in this poem is young and with her youth comes a sense of innocence

however the poem demonstrates the sexual awakening the girl incurs. The girl's youth is

exemplified when the speaker states that she "took her girl to the party ... [and] sat her

down' (862). Here the speaker presents the girl as a child being chaperoned to the party

by her mother. The girl is also described as being "...smooth and sleek ... her body hard

and indivisible as a prime number." (862). This description points out the girl's youth but

also highlights her feminine sexuality. It would appear that the girl is unprepared for her

sexual awakening and as such is using mathematics to defer her attention from her

sexual thoughts, feelings, and desires. The speaker states that as the girl stands there " her

math scores unfold[ing] in the air around her." (862). This eludes to how the denial of her

sexuality is unfolding, it is as if she is loosing her ability to concentrate on the

mathematics that distract her from her true sexuality. Here it would seem that the girl

may be coming to terms with the inevitability of her female sexuality.

The poem exemplifies the difference between the thoughts of the boys and the

girl as well as demonstrating how her thoughts evolve from those of innocence to

thoughts that become dominated by sexuality. The speaker describes how the boys see

the girl as they emerge from the pool "... they will see her...