In Sharon Olds Rite of Passage, the speaker stresses the young age of the disagreeing children at her son’s birthday party in order to mock warfare.
This playful-seeming poem contains pleasingly amusing imagery, as the boys stand around, clearing their throats like little bankers. What gained my interest with this poem, is the war-like imagery: “the cake looks like a turret” (14-15); the boys are referenced to as generals (25); and the way their talk turns to a debate on what age child they might have the strength to kill if put to that test. The Rite of Passage is certainly one from childhood to manhood, I think Olds wants us to recognize that the capacity for violence, the taste for it as it is evident in these young boys. The speaker uses