Sex Without Love

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Ryan Quinn Sullivan
March 29, 2011
Critical Approaches to Literature
Prof. Cerasulo

List of Five Poems I Read:
1. Sex Without Love
2. “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost
3. “A Poison Tree” by William Blake
4. “To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet 5. “The Dog Years” by Tony Hoagland

“Sex without Love”
By: Sharon Olds
I chose “Sex without Love” because I am a person who would rather have people, as well as poems, just get straight to the point, instead of using symbolism and metaphors to describe something. I understand there are many instances, in this poem, of symbolism and people will try to find a deeper meaning. However, I think this poem is straightforward and Sharon Olds writes exactly what she feels of the subject. Olds asks the question of how people can have sex without being in love, and follows by describing the act, as well as her apparent disapproval of sex without love. She refers to the people who do this as “they” in line 1, showing her difference in opinion of the action. She goes on to describe these partners in many ways, such as dancers and ice skaters. Also, Olds describes their faces as steak and wine. Sharon Olds writes about the sex partners as bodies “gliding over each other like ice skaters over the ice.” Usually skaters are thought of as graceful and beautiful, but, it is clear she sees this as cold as ice and meaningless. The most apparent lines showing her disapproval are lines 6 through 8, where she says the partners are “wet as the children at birth whose mothers are going to give them away. This shows the sex as being impersonal to the people, and could result in an unwanted child being put up for adoption or abandoned. Lines 8 to 10 are interesting. Olds repeats “come to the” a few times. This presents the poem as if it were the act of having sex, and this moment would be an orgasm. The word “God” breaking up line 9 puts more emphasis on this orgasm and conveys the emotion needed to get...
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