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The Race by Sharon Olds - Book Report/Review Example

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The Race by Sharon Olds

The poem in the end suggests that indeed she was united with her father but in a different level this time. The end seems to suggest that in search for a solution, the persona has lost recklessly her life in order to bridge the gap between her father and her which she had wanted to attain through a mere plane flight. The lines are suggestive -
"Such is the role of poetry. It unveils, in the strict sense of the word. It lays bare, under a light which shakes off torpor, the surprising things which surround us and which our senses record mechanically."
"Torpor" is defined as by The American Heritage Dictionary as a state of mental or physical inactivity or insensibility. Things happen in life and we take to them automatically without much thinking. We take to things like eating and sleeping like they happened everyday in the same old way. It is only when things jar us into an end that we take notice of these everyday happenings in life. We tend to think we are going to live everyday that we will never miss anything or anyone in the structure of our lives at anytime, that things will happen exactly according to schedules like the sun rising without fail in the morning, and setting without fail in the evening. The beginning of the poem presented the persona's dilemma that disrupted her life and she came face to face with reality.
It is obvious that she thought the plane would be there as scheduled. When she looked for another alternative, more or less, she had expected the alternative to be readily there. When there was none, at least she thought the second alternative was also there as a ready replacement. The self-admission is contained in here -
I ran, I who have no sense of direction
raced exactly where he'd told me, like a fish
slipping upstream deftly against the
flow of the river. I jumped off that bus with my
heavy bags and ran, the bags
wagged me from side to side as if to
prove I was under the claims of material.

Man tends to think that matters automatically arrange themselves for human beings. When it does not, then man begins to notice and question why. Instead of facing up to reality, man tends to solve things and abandon life entirely in pursuit of what is immediately before him. The persona, for example, did not care anymore about herself in pursuit of a flight bringing herself to her father as in -
I raced up the moving stairs
two at a time, at the top I saw the
long hollow corridor and
then I took a deep breath, I said
goodbye to my body, goodbye to comfort, I
used my legs and heart as if I would
gladly use them up for this, to
touch him again in this life. I ran and the
big heavy dark ...Show more


The Race by Sharon Olds is a poem of beauty and mystery and is thought-provoking. The way it was constructed was simple in approach, devoid of metrics and constricting parameters, but it flowed with ease, capturing the mood and emotions the persona was going through…
Author : kuvalisella
The Race by Sharon Olds essay example
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