Through her poetry, Linda Pastan expresses clear and meaningful lessons, thoughts, and ideas. Pastan makes a point to try to make her poems extremely clear and not cleverly obscure. Her poetry takes on many different themes depending on the situation she has been placed in. Much of Pastan’s poetry coresponds to her life. Linda Olenik Pastan was born on the 27th of May in 1932 in New York City (Gaiownik, 355). Linda grew up in a Jewish family and attended attended Fieldston School in New York (355). She later went to Radcliffe College in Massechusettes, Simmons College, and Brandeis University (Riggs, 844). Pastan had always had an interest in writing throughout her school years, but after graduating high school she knew it would have to be her career (845). She quickly became very serious with her work and published the first few of her poems including one of her most popular, “Ethics”( Gaiownik, 356).
“Ethics” is a poem having the speaker presented as a child in the classroom. In the line The question was “if there were a fire in a musum/ which would you save, a Rembrandt painting/ or an old woman who hadn’t many years left anyhow?” (Ethics, Poem Hunter). The question poses an issue for the speaker. The answer seems obvious at first but at closer examination is hard to choose an answer. In the last line of the poem, she writes, “I know now that woman and painting and season are almost one and all beyond saving by children” the speaker decides that as a child, she is too yount to be making descision such as this (Ethics, Poem Hunter). Pastan tells us through the theme that ethics and moral values can only be learned from reflection that can only come with experience and maturity. This theme that much comes with maturity is common in a few of Pastan’s other poems such as the poem “Something About The Trees”. In this poem the speaker is talking to her father about when she will become most herself (“Something About the Trees, PoemHunter.com)....
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