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“The Planned Child” by Sharon Olds Essay

The overall purpose of the poem was to convey the narrator’s hatred towards her mother’s decision to have a “planned” birth. In the first stanza the narrator explains how her mother “had taken a cardboard… and made a chart of the month and put her temperature on it, rising and falling to know the day that they would make [her],” this exemplifies how her mother carefully recorded her ovulation cycle in order to know which days she would have the greatest probability of conceiving a child. Differentiating from her mother, in the next line of the stanza the narrator states that she “would have liked to have been conceived in heat, in haste, by mistake, in love, in sex…” possibly because she would have wanted her parents to have been completely in love and as a result of their love they would have received the gratifying experience of barring a child. Perhaps the narrator wanted to have been conceived “by mistake” because if she were to ever ask her mother how she was conceived, she would have thought that the story of being conceived by the basis of “the little x on the rising line” of the calendar would have been rather bland compared to a story of lust and romance.

However, in the second stanza her view of her mother’s decision is altered when a friend of the narrator reminds her that “ [she] seem[ed] to have been a child who had been wanted…” which then allows narrator to ponder the notion of how greatly her mother wanted her that she endured the physical pain of “pressing [her] out into the world that was not enough for her [mother] without [her] in it…” It is at that moment when the narrator has a feeling of jubilation that is demonstrated when the narrator expressed how “nit the moon, the sun, Orion cart wheeling across the dark, not the earth, the sea— none of it was enough, for her [mother], without [the pregnancy of her child].”

I am lead to believe that this poem can be a possible allusion to the author’s feelings towards they way her mother decided to plan for her to come to this world, this because I believe that most people would some what feel opposed to the narrators belief of wanting to be conceived as a mistake. I say this because there are cases where parents or even unmarried couples participate in copulation and have no desire to have children which can than lead to adoption, and can make a child wonder why it is that there parents had them to begin with.

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