“Summer Solstice, New York City”

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What does the title of Sharon Olds' poem, "Summer Solstice, New York City," tell the reader about the poem at a glance?
Other than the chaos of the city, what other topics does the poem explore?
Why does the poem divert the reader's attention away from the depressed man and toward other characters, including the police?
Justify why each question is essential to your understanding of the work.

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The first issue is critical to comprehending the work. The title of the poem, "Summer Solstice, New York City," brings significant irony to nearly all of the incidents that cross the scenes of the poem. The stylistic feature of irony proves a considerable point, why Olds has enabled the poem to work and deliver its meaning in the themes brought out by the persona. Most likely, at a glance, a reader who dwells on the surface meaning of the title would anticipate a different scenario of events in the poem, including elements like couples walking in pairs and holding hands, children and their friends playing in sprinklers, as well as buckets of pink lemonade all over, among other fascinating experience. Moreover, Olds chooses to engage imagery in the most of the work to implicitly communicate that which could not connote the intended expressions if they were presented in an expressly precise diction. The extraordinarily different vector that the author pursues in her work lays a substantial platform to thoroughly outline the disturbing events of the day, including the man who dares commit suicidal on such a day. Indeed, the use of such a selective choice of words in the title and other affiliated literal elements is the mirror of what would unfold in the poem.

The questions, especially the second one, would bring a lot to light concerning the poem. The poem speaks a lot about the lack of order and organization in the city in a symbolic manner. In fact, despite the much contradiction in town, still, Olds manages to overcome the terrible and confounding atmosphere to bring about deep symbolism. The imagery plays a critical role to counter the confusion and establish room for concentrating on the plight of the character in trouble; a suicidal man. Across the lines, the audience of Olds encounter phrases like; “red, glowing ends”, “milky glow”, and “soft, tarry surfaces” (Olds 1). In essence, the author brings to surface other themes like ignorance and lack of responsibility, as one wonders why a man leading such a life would want to commit suicide if indeed he does not recognize the beauty of being alive.

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My response to the question, considering the third one, for instance, would be debatable. The controversy in the question would be founded on the contentious yet heated and distinct facets of experience that Olds creates a platform for in the poem. Indeed, it is almost expressly evident that the poem should maintain total attention to the suicidal man. However, this does not happen. Nonetheless, there is much attention given to the police for instance. The different approach allowed by Olds creates the needed diversity to her audience, primarily by a mention of the bulletproof vests, is necessary by the police so the father could be protected while the cops attempted to save the life of the suicide person. It is as well debatable why the police calmed and contained the man with ease, amidst confrontations across the city, when everybody anticipated a heated exchange between the two parties. Finally, the controversy would arise whereby the feelings and the emotions of the person poised for a suicidal mission are not discussed, other than the phrase, “he was depressed”so that the audience is left guessing while the [persona addresses other elements in the poem (Olds 2).

If another party were to respond to my question, they would have grounds to disagree with me. The controversy would especially arise on a platform of the uncertainty Olds creates while handling different characters in an atmosphere of fiction, irony, and imagery. The literary elements employed in the poem leave the audience of Olds fundamentally guessing what happens next and why. Consequently, different opinions would be justified in response. Nevertheless, considering that evidence is cited from the poem, the debate would not be mostly opposed, because at least the phrases engaged by the persona point to an almost obvious understanding, hence the means would justify the ends regarding those work.

To explore an opposing view to my argument hitherto, for instance, one could maintain that there was no need to focus on the man who wanted to commit suicide when other events looked more compelling to attract attention. Indeed, to bring meaning to the poem and create diversity in the atmosphere wherein this work is set, Olds had an obligation to embrace diversity and seek a multifaceted view of her audience. Nevertheless, my opinion remains a critical trajectory that points meaning to the need for understanding this work. Indeed, committing suicide means life is at stake, and hence the need to swiftly shift all tools of safety and attention in the focus of the disturbed man.

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Work cited

Olds, Sharon. “Olds-Summer-Solstice-NYC.pdf.” 2014: PP. 1–3.

January 20, 2022

World Literature

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