Primitive Sharon Olds Analysis

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Sharon Olds’ “Primitive” is about an unconventional but loving relationship. The speaker explains that although her relationship isn’t as civilized as others appear to be, she’s satisfied and thankful for the bond she shares with her partner. Through her use of diction, symbolism, and imagery, Olds expresses the theme that each relationship should be unique. By using diction, Olds shows the benefits of being in a unique relationship. The poem begins with, “I have heard about the civilized,/ the marriages run on talk, elegant and honest, rational” (lines 1-2). Although the speaker is describing seemingly positive relationships, her word choice reveals an underlying meaning. “Heard” implies that she’s never actually witnessed or…show more content…
In this poem, the speaker explains that her partner brings her Moo Shoo Pork. It states, “I know Moo Shoo Pork when I smell it/ and understand the message: I have pleased you greatly last night” (5-7). The speaker is implying that the Chinese food serves as a reward for pleasuring her partner, and because the smell of the Moo Shoo Pork is so distinct and symbolic for her, this is a reoccurring aspect of their relationship. They then sit in silence and devour the meal, comfortable enough with each other to eat messily, letting the pancakes dangle and the sauce drip. However, Moo Shoo Pork doesn’t mean their relationship is on great terms. It states, “and glance at each other askance, wordless” (11). This means that after they’ve finished their meal, they look at each other suspiciously, showing that tension exists within their relationship. Nevertheless, the Moo Shoo Pork symbolizes the everlasting love and tolerance they have for eachother. While they may be frustrated with each other, they can sit side by side and enjoy a meal that they’ve made a tradition, meaning they still value this unique part of their relationship. The Moo Shoo Pork is clearly important for them and helps keep their bond strong, ultimately emphasizing the importance of having a unique
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