Elements Of Love Essay

1178 words - 5 pages

SpenceElements of LoveWhat is love? According to various dictionaries, love is defined in many ways; the one thing love is not-it is not defined in a singular definition, it has specific meaning to each individual. Sharon Old's "Last Night" describes the love she encounters only for a brief moment after having sex for the first time. This poem assumes a different approach from the ordinary love poem by emphasizing an element of love that is not often focused upon. Olds work represents a strong sense of symbolism that further expands the meaning of the poem. The poem "Last Night" by Sharon Olds centers around love, the theme throughout remains the same; sex as a physical interaction that is physically and literally empty without both elements; emotion and love. Olds keeps the theme consistent throughout her work with clever diction, descriptive imagery, and tone allowing the reader to experience sex as a physical act versus a loving act.In the beginning "afraid" and "love" are written next to one another representing the contrast between the two implying the feelings are unambiguous. The reader immediately understands the tone the author is conveying through this specific diction. In addition, the contrast sets a tone for the reader to enter the poem mindful, emotionally mindful. The poem commences with a statement: "The next day, I am almost afraid" (l.1). Olds uses "almost" instead of "I am" to suggest that she is consciously aware of the effect last night had on her, yet she does not fully understand the effects which is precisely why she is "almost" instead of being afraid. Directly following is this statement, "Love?" (l. 2). This statement further proves the previous days experience caused her to ponder and question the act of love itself which the reader understands given the context and punctuation. Olds uses a metaphor to explain the experience: "It was more like dragonflies in the sun, 100 degrees at noon," (ll. 2-3). Descriptive imagery in this line allows the reader to visualize and imagine such circumstances which become vivid to readers because we can all relate to hot temperatures which at times can be from pleasure or can be associated with discomfort which seems to be how she feels about last night. Olds ingenious writing style such as the above purposely help draw the reader in and make them feel as though they are in the moment themselves.Through descriptive word choice Olds uses another clever metaphor to ensure the tone of the poem is understood to be timid, while representing the emotional effect the previous days had on her in the following lines: "like something twisting and/twisting, out of a chrysalis," (ll. 6-7). According to dictionary.com chrysalis is defined as a protective covering and as the enclosing case or pupa of a butterfly. The specific word choice illustrates the emotional turmoil as follows: "I close my eyes when I remember" (l. 5), "twisting" (l. 6), and "humming" (l. 9) out of the "chrysalis" exposing the...

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