Monday, October 28, 2019

Rogerian Argument Essay Example for Free

Rogerian Argument Essay The poem â€Å"Sex Without Love† by Sharon Olds is as controversial as the topic itself. The author describing the phenomenon that has become pervasive in modern life could not refrain from taking a stand on the issue, and this position can be either supported or refuted by the audience. When so many people are motivated by the contemporary American culture to engage in sexual intercourse without the trappings of love or even simple emotional attachment, it is interesting to review the poem dedicated to this situation and sort out issues covered in it. Doing so will help one tread with more confidence in the complex realm of human communication. Besides, it is even more interesting since Olds is the kind of poet who does not shun provocative topics and is not afraid to show her intimate life to the public. In analyzing the poem, we will try to understand whether Olds’ poem is a humanistic glorification of the body or a disgusting description that satisfies bad tastes. The latter view of Olds’ poetry is taken by William Logan. In his article â€Å"No Mercy† published in the journal New Criterion in December 1999, he indeed takes no mercy on Sharon Olds’ works and their artistic value. Perhaps the only positive trait Logan finds about Olds’ poetry is its spontaneity and unexpectedness of the next line that in itself should be applauded in the world of literature. However, Logan is disgusted by the sensual images that constantly surface in the poems and repel him with their openness. Therefore, he states that reading through Olds’ â€Å"hell-for-leather hubris you never know whats coming next, but youre sure its going to be a disaster† (Logan 1999:60). In short, Logan believes her work to be â€Å"shameless prose chopped up into lines of poetry, lurid as a tabloid† (Logan 1999:60). As such, he sees Olds’ work as a response to the society in our times constantly demanding from poets more descriptions of sexual lurid scenes, empty of any meaningful human emotions, and Olds is a vivid example of this trend. However, Logan takes care to dismantle the value of the poetess’ work on the grounds on which she seems to him to advance – the radicalism in the portrayal of sexual scenes. Olds to Logan ism despite her attempts to pass herself as a radical, â€Å"a homely Redbook moralist, believing in motherhood, family, and honey on her nipples† (Logan 1999:60). Thus, this view of Olds’ poetry proclaims her tasteless and lacking radicalism, totally denigrating her work and making it look worthless. There is, however, a different perception of Olds’ poetry, and in particular the poem â€Å"Sex Without Love†. To me, in particular, this poem presents an image that is rich in imagery, metaphors, and perceptive comparisons. This imagery comes out in comparisons that liken the participants of the act in turn to dancers, ice-skaters, and children at birth. The latter, true, is a somewhat brutal simile, but it is so to only some people who think that newborns are not particularly good-looking, while to others a newborn is as beautiful as anybody, being part of the life cycle. The first two comparisons, â€Å"beautiful as dancers† and â€Å"gliding over each other like ice-skaters† seem suitable for any taste, reinforcing the opinion that sexual intercourse, like any natural human action, is not disgusting, but beautiful and elegant (Olds). The poem also introduces an interesting perception of sexual intercourse, interpreting it in its own terms. It is unusual to someone who was brought up with the conviction that sex is pure and acceptable only when it is justified by love and preferably by marriage. In our society, love at one point came to serve as a convenient way to justify why people had sex outside of marriage. Therefore, with time it became almost as sacred as marriage itself. Olds takes love off its pedestal and proclaims that those who choose to have sex without it are â€Å"the true religious, the purists, the pros† (Olds). Those are the people who will not accept a false Messiah, love the priest instead of the God. They do not mistake the lover for their own pleasure (Olds). It seems that in this context sex for its own sake becomes the new norm, and love is something like a deviation from this norm. Many people can dispute this perception, but it is certain that each person can have one’s own viewpoint on these matters. In any case, the fact that Olds raises the issue and supports it with bright poetic images makes this poem worth attention. The value of Sharon Olds’ poem is also appreciated in the Free-written Comprehension of Sex Without Love available from the Richard Stockton College of NJ website. Also noting the strong imagery of the poem, the writer also adds that â€Å"the images are here not for enjoyment, but rather to exhibit the reality of the action† (Richard Stockton College). Besides, the interpretation also emphasizes the fact that, like in many pieces of poetry, Olds does not draw the ready-made conclusion that she wants the reader to follow. In fact, she allows several explanations and has the reader make the guessing on his or her own. So is Sharon Olds a lurid author who enjoys portraying sexual scenes with all the possible details or a philosopher who introduces a new opinion, supported with adequate imagery? It feels that the answer can lie somewhere in between. Returning to the denigrating opinion stated by William Logan in his article, one can see that this argument covers the whole poetry. â€Å"Sex Without Love†, compared to other poems by Olds, is relatively more Puritan in its imagery and does not use many shocking details. The emphasis is on the process as a whole, and the author uses broad metaphorical images like ice-skaters or runners to convey broader similarities. Abstaining from talking about details like her labia or other body parts that she mentions in other poems, Olds appears more appealing to a broad audience of people with different backgrounds and views, many of whom may be alienated by more naturalistic images. By the way, talking about the imagery in Olds’ poetry, Logan admits that â€Å"Aristotle would have loved her metaphors, her anatomy lessons† (Logan 1999:60). In â€Å"Sex Without Love†, Olds is at her best with building her imagery that serves to convey her message. Her images become a powerful tool for showing the event from new and new angles, creating the effect of unexpectedness noted by Logan. Most interestingly, there is a viewpoint supported by Free-written Comprehension of Sex Without Love and differing from my initial perceptions: that in the poem, Olds does not at all support the idea of meaningless, thoughtless sex without emotions, and that in fact she is disgusted by it as much as her more conservative audience. The latter view is grounded in the final part of the poem where Olds compares her lovers to runners: they are like great runners: they know they are alone with the road surface, the cold, the wind, the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardio- vascular healthjust factors, like the partner in the bed, and not the truth, which is the single body alone in the universe against its own best time. (Olds) It can be claimed that â€Å"stating that the people in bed together are just meager factors of life strongly indicates that there is distaste for sex without love† (Richard Stockton College). Speaking of cardio-vascular health as one of the factors, Olds expresses her sadness over such act of love that does not include any emotional attachment between the two. Even though on the surface, she claims that she admires sex without love, in fact she is repelled by it, as shown in her images. After deliberation, I agree that Olds’ poem should perhaps be read in a different sense – disputing the value and attraction of sex without emotion. Using this time less naturalistic images, Olds displays her strengths with metaphors by creating an unforgettable picture of the two runners rushing along a meaningless path of factors. In this poem, she may not be savoring the details of lurid sexual pictures. Instead, Olds puts in her poem a deep spiritual meaning that reiterates the old human value of love, attachment, and care. In this sense, she may indeed by lacking radicalism, but instead of this she professes values close to many in her audience. Works Cited Logan, William. â€Å"No Mercy.† New Criterion 18.4 (December 1999): 60. Olds, Sharon. Sex Without Love. 24 June 2002. 17 April 2006 Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Free-written Comprehension of Sex Without Love. 17 April 2006 http:///thebalance/stories/storyReader$9.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.