The Victims By Sharon Olds Essay

1110 Words Mar 4th, 2016 5 Pages
Upon initial reading, “The Victims” by Sharon Olds seems to be a poem that paints the picture of a life of abuse; starting from the dawning of the exploitation and arching over into the life of the abused following the maltreatment. In the work, it is made to be believed that the clear victims of the poem are the speaker and their family—which is a rightful and obvious assumption—but there is another victim that is not as prevalent as that of the speaker and their family: the speaker’s father. After a second read, it is made evidently apparent that although the work does focus on the speaker and their family as the victims of the poem, the ideal that the father is also a victim is explored. Since the father is depicted as an abuser, it is seen as ludicrous to many to consider him a “victim” of any sort, however, Olds challenges what readers initially assume how a victim is to be portrayed and attempts to make the audience see the father as a victim too. Like that of the speaker and their family who had their innocence taken from them by the father’s abusive nature, the father also has his career and in a sense his lively hood taken from him—the source of his victimization. In her poem, Sharon Olds not only portrays the speaker and their family as a victim, but she also leaves the audience—as well as the speaker of the poem—with the immense realization that there are many different illustrations of a “victim” and that the term is a broad spectrum in regards to the situation…

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