Still Life in Landscape by Sharon Olds
Drunk driving is a known problem throughout the world, there are many accidents and deaths that occur each day because of stupidity and ignorance. In many cases families are torn apart and left heartbroken for the rest of their lives because of drunk driving. Drunk driving is the number one major cause of accidents and deaths on the road. Carelessness is responsible for drunk driving, and can be easily avoided, it can deal a great amount of pain and suffering and change the lives of many.
The poem sets up a true meaning of what reality really is and can be seen and interpreted through the different perspectives by the child, reader and audience. The child in the poem in “Still Life in Landscape” by Sharon Olds interprets the poem as being reality and see’s for herself the dangers that exist. The child’s description of what she sees send a strong image to the reader that reality does exist and these things happen everyday.
The gruesome imagery in this poem is used to make a strong statement about reality. All these examples can be explored even further. The author in “Still in Landscape” uses some very descriptive gruesome imagery to describe the scene of the car crash. The imagery that is used in this poem is intended to make a very strong impact on how reality is really displayed and what really goes on in the world. The author narrates the poem through the eyes of the child and describes what the child sees and feels. A woman was lying on the highway, on her back, with her head curled back and tucked under her shoulders so the back of her head touched her spine between her shoulder-blades, her clothes mostly accidented off, and her leg gone, a long bone sticking out of the stub of her thigh, my mother grabbed my head and turned it and clamped it into her chest, between her breasts”(Lines 3-13). The child is seeing reality at first hand and her mother can only grab her head and turn it clamped into her chest.
The mother is not really protecting her child by just holding her but representing the endless number of bystanders in the world that do nothing about people that create and cause these tragedies. Throughout the poem in “Still Life in Landscape” the child is experiencing a true feeling of what reality really is. She sees the horrible scene of the crash site with the woman lying on her back with the back of her head touching her spine. “A woman was lying on the highway, on her back, with her head curled back and tucked under her shoulders so the back of her head touched her spine”(Lines 3-5).
This description of what the child sees at the crash site makes you shiver and makes you feel query and makes you realize that this is really what goes on in the world. The consequences to drunk driving can be unforgettable when the outcome comes out to be death or pain to another family. Tragedy is happening all around us. We do not always see it. The cars do not always collide, but people still drive drunk. This problem will continue to grow, and people will continue to suffer. This is what reality is really about. But is there anyway to prevent situations like this?
Will it ever stop? That is what the poem is addressing. Reality is that people die, all the time, due to stupidity and ignorance. Society usually believes only what it really wants to believe, it wants to ignore reality and live a healthy life without any circumstances, but that’s not how it is. If People witness or experience actual events of disaster or trauma only then do they really experience true reality. Carelessness can have a great impact on society or on an individual whether it showing up in drunk driving or any other problem related to reality.
Sharon Olds, The Upswept Room (2003) NY: Alfred A. Knopf, p. 23.