Civil Rights Violation In The Poem 'Dago' By Sharon Olds

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In a country where dictatorship reigned, murder, torture and violation of civil rights by officers of the law who sworn to protect and serve is inevitable. In the worst case scenario, even children are not immune. Political measures taken to stifle opposition is the leading cause for the death and torture of many people in the developing world. Under the Marxist leader in the 1970s and 1980s, Chile had a reputation of human right violation. With her second hand information the speaker of the poem depict a vivid picture about a family including a five year old boy being tortured somewhere in Chile. By successfully depicting the agony of witnessing the torture of a loved one and the pain of being unable to do something about it, Sharon Olds…show more content…
The speaker recalled herself being verbally abused by a family member as a child. She recalled, “And in my living room as a child, /the word, Dago”( 16-17). In other words, she remembered being verbally abused and being called an ethnic slur “Dago” by family member. For the speaker being called “dago” and all the abuse was heart breaking, but “nothing [she] experienced was worse than death”( 17). Nothing she ever experienced was comparable with the pain the Chilean family had gone through. The speaker hinted that the guard when torturing used a racial slur to call the five year old boy ”Dago” while his mother watching them. For the mother and the father this, according to the speaker is something worse than death. Finally there comes a need to escape from the pain and agony of witnessing the torture of a loved one through “gracious and eternal death”( . 22), an old enemy “who permits departure.”(. 23) from all the sorrow and anguish of this world.
In the poem “there are things worse than death” where Sharon Olds choose to have a block of twenty three lines without any stanza break. In an effort to present the victims of such heinous act of torture to listeners effectively the speaker substitute herself and her son for the mother and son who are being tortured in front of each other 's eye by the Chilean government. Her empathy is real. She would like her listeners feel, and believe what she herself felt and rise up against such

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