Escaping Reality Through Poetry Poetry is often used to elevate reality. The sonnets of Shakespeare immediately come to mind. The exquisite language is used to elevate love, lovers, mortality and many other subjects. However, as poetry has advanced from an exercise in romantic elevation to one of introspection, it often becomes something people wish to escape from. Sylvia Plath , with her imagery of death and the aftermath of concentration camps, is one such example. Sharon Olds and Rita Dove take the concept another step further: chronicling the need of the very ordinary subjects of their poems to escape from reality. In Olds’ “The Death of Marilyn Monroe,” the desire is to escape through the preservation of an iconic and erotic image. In...The end:
.....he smashing of the fantasy in Olds’ poem is in ways more catastrophic than in Dove’s. The ambulance attendants have returned to their families damaged men, unable to function as they once would at home. The mother in Dove’s poem is presumably is a good mother and loves her husband, and presumably will continue performing her motherly and wifely duties. She has the opportunity to continue to fantasize. Fantasies represent hope, and in any parent, there is always the hope of the future: they may dream about when the children can be left alone for a few moments, then for a few hours, and when they finally leave home and become productive adults. For the ambulance attendants, that is lost. As a result, their lives have been irrevocably altered.