The poem being analyzed is entitled, “I Go Back to May 1973” by Sharon Olds. In the beginning of the poem, the image of innocence is lost but as the reader goes deeper into the heart and core of the text, the tone rapidly spirals into violence as well as resentment.
I’m assuming that the author of the poem, Sharon Olds, is the narrator of this literary text. Sharon starts by reflecting her life story. She tells the tale of the beginning of her parent’s relationship as two fresh college graduates who venture into the world of marriage. The couple started off in an optimistic account for they were both unassumingly innocent. Nevertheless, everything started to go downhill later in life as Sharon, the couple’s child, wishes she could go back in time to save her parents relationship as well as herself from the reality of their dark future.
As Sharon begins her poem, she uses an imagery of a momentous event which is the college graduation and at the same time, she introduces the main characters of the poem in the first stanza. Sharon envisions her parents as young college graduates in her mind’s eye as she writes, “I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges" (Olds line 1). Sharon refers to the college as a standing point where everything is about to change, a chapter of a page that ends while another story unfolds.
She then talks about the two characters in their own limelight. Sharon represents her father to the readers as she says: “I see my father strolling out
under the ochre sandstone arch, the
red tiles glinting like a bent
plates of blood behind his head." (2-5).
The image that is gathered by these stanzas show how this young man is full of confidence as he “strolls” through the archway but the lines “red tiles glinting like a bent plates of blood behind his head” puts an eerie feel to it. It’s like a forewarning of his malicious intent.
Aside from mentioning about her father,...