Questions on Sharon Olds' poem "The Victims" encourage close reading, analysis of poetic elements, as well as deeper thinking and discussion about the themes and big ideas of the poem. Because of copyright issues, the poem is not included in this packet.
"The Victims" is an exploration of the ways that family dynamics change as we all grow up. The speaker deals with her parents’ divorce and her shifting allegiances. She also deals with forgiveness, the past, and figuring out how to let go of anger that she feels towards her father.
This handout of thorough and precise questions is ready to go with minimal prep on the part of the teacher.
There are also prompts for in-class writing as well as for longer assessment.
“The Victims” could be used with many texts that deal with children and adults, family, divorce, forgiveness, the past, or changing perspectives.
Suggestions include The Catcher in the Rye, Rome and Juliet, To Kill a Mockingbird, Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations, Huckleberry Finn, The Death of a Salesman, or A Raisin in the Sun.
Looking for more poetry lessons for your American Literature class? Check out my American Literature Poetry Bundle: Focus on Immigration and the American Dream
which includes enough material for three weeks of lessons, everything you need to teach your students how to analyze poetry, and then get them exploring, discussing, and writing about the bigger themes of American Literature such as materialism, love, race, family dynamics, class, immigration, language, tradition, the search for the self and the American dream.