Focus Journal # 20, Sharon Olds, The promise, 591
May 2, 2012
I. Understanding: In this poem Sharon Olds wishes the reader to believe that when terminally ill a man should have say in whether he continues to suffer in pain while useless, or to keep living. II. Analyzing: In this poem Olds does a great job painting a visual picture in the readers mind. “We are also in our/bed, fitted naked closely/ along each other¸half passed out/ after love, drifting back and/ forth across the border of consciousness, our/ bodies buoyant, clasped.” These lines allow the reader to see how much the couple love each other, and the enjoyment they have together. The imagery in these lines is so amazingly written and described. The wife acknowledges the husbands fear that she will not kill him if he terminally ill. The narrator uses pathos while assuring her husband “I tell you you don’t/ know me if you think I will not/ kill you.” The impact of this line also shows just how much she loves her husband. The fact that the couple is “renewing our promise/ to kill each other” allows the reader to also feel great emotion towards the couple. The feeling of love and compassion is so great during this poem. III. Evaluating and Synthesizing: This poem had a very powerful emotional effect on me. I thought Olds did a beautiful job writing this poem. The argument Olds is arguing is so controversial and I respect her so much for writing this piece of literature. I honestly don’t know if I would ask my husband to kill me if I was terminally ill. That seems like a tough topic to think about.
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