Summer Solstice Analysis

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Human Interaction is The Importance of Life
In the poem, “Summer Solstice, New York City,” by Sharon Olds, a man stands on the roof of a building ready to end his life. The man hung at the edge of the roof until things started to change for him. Many men went up to the roof and one man talked him out of committing suicide. After experiencing the longest day of the year around the United States’ most populated city and busiest one at that, the man receives personal attention to keep him from stepping off the ledge. Olds utilizes the speaker’s environment to present that society’s happiness depends on our ties with human interactions rather than physical surroundings.

Olds presents the environment before the poem had even started. She gives the readers a setting and the importance of the environment by titling it “Summer Solstice, New York City.” The title was carefully chosen to give the reader a subject to the poem. It creates expectations for the reader and gets the audience to wonder why Olds titles the poem “Summer Solstice, New York City.” The purpose of this title is to go back and wonder why the poet titled the poem this way. By titling the poem “Summer Solstice” it creates a feeling that the poem will be a long day and the longest day of the year at that. By adding “New York City,” it gives the reader the notion that it is a busy day, because it is the most populated city in the United States. Someone can be easily overwhelmed by the feeling of New York City and be easily forgotten.

After reading the title, expected emotions are presented from the speaker to exclaim the man in the poem has had enough. Olds states, “By the end of the longest day of the year he could not stand it” (20). This is a very explicit statement, but the next three lines of the poem present symbols to support his emotions and why he feels this way. The speaker enunciates, “He went up the iron stairs through the roof of the building/and over the soft, tarry surface/to the...
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