Sharon Olds, in her poem “On the Subway”, used a white woman to reveal the complex relationship between herself and the African-American boy on the subway; through Old’s use of juxtaposing visual imagery along with tonal shifts and levels of realization as well as other poetic devices Olds comments on the stark differences between their lives as a result of discrimination in society coming to realize, in the end, they are both human and therefore inherently the same. Olds uses contrasting visual imagery to develop both portraits as well as illustrate the deep disparities between the life of the caucasian speaker and the African American boy on the subway. The boy wears “black sneakers laced with white in a complex pattern… like scars” symbolizing …show more content…
Furthermore, these were not just scars, but “intentional” scars revealing the purposeful nature of the pain white people inflicted on African Americans. Moreover, the two characters are on “opposite sides of the car” illustrating the literal segregation between the two races in society. To further contrast the two characters, Olds reveals how vulnerable and exposed the boy is “wearing red, like the inside of a body exposed”. Skin is an organ that is supposed to protect other organs vital to life, but without this covering, he is utterly exposed anything trying to destroy him. Similarly, being African American leaves him defenseless to the white people seeking to harm and discriminate against him because society teaches African Americans are lesser humans. Additionally, removing his skin also makes him less human and more like vulnerable prey-- a weaker animal to be used for the benefit of a stronger animal. Contrastingly, the woman is lavishly “wearing …show more content…
Their connectedness is immediately established by a metaphor as both are “a couple of molecules stuck in a rod of light rapidly moving through darkness”. This is literal in a sense that both are a minute part of the many traveling in the subway through a dark, underground tunnel. Metaphorically, both the white woman and African American boy are two tiny people trying to make their way through a life surrounded by evil and darkness. However, the boy is also compared to “a mugger” with a “cold casual look” depicting him as someone to fear and associated with evil and corruption by hiding his intentions. The alliteration “cold causal” created a cacophonous, unappealing sounds associated with disgust because it sounds like spitting. In addition, the woman’s frightened insights are exposed through a simile when she confesses she fears he will “break [her] across his knee like a stick”. Although she has had no problem discriminating against him and breaking his back and causing him agony, when the tables turn she becomes distraught highlighting the golden rule that would end all discrimination-- treat others as you would want to be treated. Her thoughts become even more complex through the last simile when she contemplates “the rod of
On the Subway Sharon Olds depicts the harsh realities of our world. Some may believe whites have privilege over other races; however, Olds tells the story in a way that challenges that notion. Old’s use of imagery and simile help the reader understand the contrast between the white and black world. Olds uses imagery in describing the (black) male. “Casual cold look of a mugger… hooded lids.”
In “On the Subway” by Sharon Olds, the speaker is on a train and finds herself across a man, she describes has “the casual cold look of a mugger.” It is not clear as to why she sees him as a mugger, but he is larger than her. As the poem unfolds, we get a better look at her thinking process and the differences between the speaker and the man. “He is wearing red, like the inside of the body exposed” is a simile the poet used to express how simple and open the man looked; by comparing him to an open body. On the other hand, she is in a fur coat.
The implied violence Olds uses shows the different characterization between black and white and how individuals conclude thoughts and feelings about race. Sharon Olds pessimistic tone establishes how she feels sitting across from a colored man who has "the casual cold
In “On the Subway” by Sharon Olds captures two different worlds in close proximity language, simile, and appealing to ethos. In the beginning, Olds points out the significance of the woman’s dark fur and the boy’s red hoodie. The boy’s red hoodie. The boy’s red hoodie covers his face that has that has a mean look; while the woman’s black fur implies wealth and high-status along with her briefcase.
Olds creates contrast between the black boy and the white female by using descriptive language. From the first line the author calls him a "boy”. A boy has a connotation of infancy and vulnerability, rather than a man. Adding to that, he is black. In the history of blacks, there has always been a sense of superiority from whites over blacks,
The research paper is about John H. Franklin's topic in “The Train From Hate” which is a terrific piece of literature. Mr. Franklin was born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma, on January 2, 1915. He attended Harvard University and eventually obtained a PH.D, and subsequently he became a well-known historian of his time. Mr. Franklin was one of a kind individual and particularly known for his effort concerning scholarship that focus on Southern history and racial politics. He published many books throughout his career.
(Jason Reynolds, 157). Rashad’s dad's impulsive gunshot ruined the life of an innocent black boy who was defending himself from a fight. Him jumping to the conclusion of the boy being a criminal reveals some racist motives and stereotyping. Rashad’s dad speculating that he was the criminal based on his outfit is a racial stereotype against black people. Rashad’s dad’s actions when jumping to conclusions is a physical representation of his perspective on others and his racist
“On the subway” is a poem written by Sharon Olds. I’ve never rode on the subway before so I can’t really say much, but Sharon Olds has a lot on her mind. In this poem, Olds brings together two worlds into a closer proximity. She creates two portraits in the poem by using a variety of literary elements such as tone, diction, and imagery.
In “On the Subway” by the author, Sharon Olds, she uses a set of terms to keep a deeper understanding of the poem. The devices included from many are imagery, symbolism, and metaphors. Through these devices Sharon puts the level of her poem at an extreme interpretation of daily life. In the first device, imagery, she uses “wearing dark fur” illustrating something dark and dead in our imaginations. “Skin of an animal” is another quote with the recent one where we imagine a mysterious animal that only a rich person could use.
Fearing for the worse, I quickly took a sharp turn into a different street to avoid walking past them. Just as Staples said, “Its was in the echo of that terrified woman’s footfalls that I first began to know the the unwieldy inheritance I’d come to into -- the ability to alter public space in ugly way.” (239). It soon dawn upon me that although I may not know them, I had made a firm decision to avoid walking past them because I had judge them based on their race and appearances. Similarly to the woman that ran away from Staples because he was a tall black African male and the women had felt his presences to be threatening.
The image I chose was originally created for the Juvenile Protective Association or JPA, which is a nonprofit based in Chicago that works on behalf of children to secure their well being and help at risk or endangered youth reach their full potential. It depicts a little boy crying, with a large black hand constructed of harsh words wrapped around his throat. The words “Your words have power use them wisely” are much smaller to the side of the boy. The messages conveyed in this image are the explicit message of think before you speak, and the implicit message that verbal abuse is as harmful as its physical counterpart. “Your words have power use them wisely” is a powerful, yet obvious statement.
Sharon Olds poem, On the Subway, brings up the topic of race and the views of both different cultures. She presents an abundance of discriptive terms displaying a story in your head. Olds explains these different views of how other individuals see people who are white or black. She sets the tone of judgement of the two different races. Beginning the poem with the discriptions of what the boy wears showed the contrast of herseld as well who was wearing a more poshe attire.
“He is wearing red, like the inside of the body exposed. I am wearing dark fur, the whole skin of an animal taken and used” (Line 9-13). This means that the woman is comparing that he is the inside of an animal while she is just the outside of an animal. This displays the boy is poor because he doesn’t have many clothes on and is exposed while the speaker is covered in fur. The woman uses the boy’s clothing to symbolize the stereotypes and inequalities between the races because it shows how he doesn’t have much clothing like she does.
In the excerpt, “On the Subway” we see a variety of literary devices being used to fully express its meaning. Sharon Olds, the author of this short story writes the story in a way that one character seems to be superior than the other. She uses imagery to fully depict characters and their appearances. Additionally, she also uses metaphors, symbolism, and tone to express how the characters view each other.. Through all this we can come to the conclusion that the narrator of this story is a racist.
A furious woman abruptly jumps out of her seat and stands directly in front of the coloured mother, she begins taunting and slurring racial remarks. With my head held low I get a glimpse of the desperate mother’s expression, so full of exhaustion. As the white woman lifts her hand to the mother every person on this platform recoils into their seat, unusually do several people on the sheltered platform. She strikes the helpless mothers face and her child immediately begins to scream like an animal before slaughter, the fear is evidently coursing through them both now. She is pleading with this furious woman and every other person surrounding her, begging them to let her remain, for the sake of her child’s health and life.