I Go Back to May

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Sharon Olds’ poem “I Go Back to May 1937” is written as if the speaker; which appears to be female is looking back in time to when he or she’s parents first met and married. The speaker throughout the poem does not seem pleased with the events that unfolded thereafter, but nonetheless understands that there is nothing that she could have done to stop it from happening. The poem gives a short glimpse into the life the couple had and the effect it had on the child/narrator. The poem is almost a flashback, but instead of first person point of view, it is told from the perception of the child’s viewpoint, which seems predominately that of despair and hopelessness. The first line gives the setting of the poem, the ‘story’ being told starts off at a college, presumably this is where the mother and father met. It sets the reader up to believe this is possibly a happy time. The use of the word ‘formal’ to describe the gate gives a sense of the importance of the college setting. Throughout the poem it switches between descriptive lines about the father and the mother. The seperation of the two, tells the reader that all isn’t well between them. The father is first introduced as standing infront of “ red tiles glinting like bent plates of blood”(4-5), describing the tiles as plates of blood behind the fathers head could be seen as a symbolism for the father’s aggression. The father is then depicted as having an arrogant handsome blind face. The connotations that the word arrogance implies says a lot about the speakers view of their father. Having a blind face could mean he is blind to how others feel or possibly to the reality of how his actions affect his family. The next few lines describe the mother standing with the wrought iron gate ‘still open’ behind her. The way the author phrases the line saying the gates are still open makes one think that she had to give up her future once she married, possibly give up a career choice in order to raise a family.  The voice...
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