Divorce is common in the world today. Despite the vows made in marriage to remain together until death, certain events could cause the couple to resort to divorce. In the poem, ‘The Victims,’ writer Sharon Olds conveys the effects of divorce within a family. The poem seems to be written in very personal manner, as If the writer experienced the events firsthand. Also, It Is written In a very dark tone, as If the persona Is filled with resentment towards the father. However, the poems tone changes at some point, contradicting the persona’s feelings in the beginning of the poem.
The poem is written from the perspective of the children and begins with the mother divorcing her husband. From this point onwards, the husband’s life goes downhill. The husband loses his job, his suits, and his money. The children react peculiarly to these events. They seem to take pleasure in their father’s suffering. It is as if they want him to live in misery and suffer for the rest of his life. One must ask: what on earth could the father have done to deserve this type of reaction from his own children? Sharon Olds does not reveal the reason.
The tone of the poem changes at line 17. The persona shifts from talking about the past, which Is seen when the persona says mother divorced you,” to talking about the present in “Now I pass the bums. ” It is as if the persona has grown up and become more mature. The conflicting feelings toward her father’s suffering comes from a younger version of the persona to her older version at line 17. The poem is a 26-lined free verse and uses multiple literary devices to enhance rhythmic quality and emphasis certain points.
The writer uses a lot of imagery, which is seen in the children’s reaction to their father’s suffering, specifically when his office, secretaries, lunches, and suits are taken away. The children “grinned” and “were tickled” at the thought of all of these horrific events. The writer uses repetition to emphasis the Importance of how the father was fired. This Is seen when “taken away’ Is repeated In two consequent lines. Alliteration Is also used In line 24, “lanterns lit,” which ultimately improves the poem’s rhythmic quality. The language is simple to understand.
The writers choice of words also shows how much the children hated their father. This is seen in the writer’s use of “carcasses” instead of “suits,” and “annihilation,” which is an extreme word to use in this case. The poem evokes feelings of sympathy towards the father at the end of the poem because his life is completely ruined. The poem ends with the writer wondering who really was the victim. ‘ Furthermore, it evokes feelings of sympathy towards the children because they are raised by a mother who has been childish in this situation, brainwashing her hillier Into hating their father.
This Is revealed In line 15 where the persona says, “She taught us to take It, to hate you. ” Use of the word “bums” also enhances sympathetic feelings towards the victims. The family by using imagery, a choice of extreme words such as “annihilation and “carcasses” to emphasis the children’s feelings towards their father, and various literary devices that contribute to rhythmic quality and emphasis on certain points. Ms. Olds successfully draws the readers’ sympathy towards people who are undergoing or have undergone divorce.