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A Complete Turnaround Sharon Olds poem The Victims deals with an underlying theme of abuse Olds illustrates this theme through the tone of the poem which is achieved by imagistic language rhyme and rhythm In this poem the speaker is illustrated through two points of view first as a child then as an adult reflecting back on a troublesome childhood experience As the speakers point of view changes so does the use of poetic devices The poem opens with the speaker remembering the behaviors of an abusive father when she was a child The tone at this point was one of disgust hatred spite and taking joy in her fathers failures This was due to the fact that she was taught to feel this way by her mother As a child she was not aware of this It was not until adulthood that she realized her feeling of resentment towards her father were evoked by her mother The speaker herself was not the victim of her fathers abusive behavior nonetheless she still hated him because thats the only way she knew how to feel These feelings are shown through the imagistic language used to reveal the acts of revenge on the father When the mother finally divorced the father her kids loved it 3-4 When the father was fired from his job we grinned inside 5-6 The pleasure that the entire family took watching their fathers demise was quite vivid We were tickled to think of your office taken away youre secretaries taken away 7-9 The finality of the fathers loses was shown by the taking away of his pencils and reams of paper at his job 11 The images used in the first 16 lines are very dark and gloomy and are associated with death This is as if to represent the familys way of killing him through his loses The suits that belonged to the father were depicted as
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