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Summer Solstice By Sharon Olds

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“Summer Solstice, New York City”, by Sharon Olds is a poem that explains a scene in which a man wants to commit suicide by jumping off a building, but in the end police officers make him rethink his decision. The man is described as being on the ledge of a building when officers rushed towards him and prevented him from jumping. The poem portrays many issues including, setting, theme and symbolism that aids in comprehending the author’s purpose.
Immediately, the title of the poem gives us a clue of the setting. Summer Solstice means it was the longest day of the year. New York is one of the most populated and busiest cities in the United States, making it fairly easy for one to feel lonely and unimportant like the man in the poem. When the …show more content…
Despite their lack of knowledge of the man or what he carried, police officers went up the building, risking their own lives to save another. Olds writes, “. . .and one put on a bullet-proof vest, a black shell around his own life. . .” (74). The police prepared for any danger that they might encounter with the man on the roof. The author writes, “The tallest cop approached him directly, softly, slowly, talking to him, talking. . .” (74). The cops were determined to talk and prevent the man from jumping. Something as simple as talking could have made the man rethink his entire decision. The outcome of this situation provides a huge amount of evidence to the theme of building relationships or serving others. This type of behavior is what police officers are wanted to do, to build a relationship with the community. Not only was the theme used to portray the author’s purpose, but also symbolism in the …show more content…
Although Olds does not state it directly, we can draw inferences from her poem. Throughout her poem, she uses descriptive language to show the reader that even in hard times, positive outcomes are possible. Olds writes, “. . .and the tall cop lit a cigarette in his own mouth, and gave it to him, and they all lit cigarettes. . .” (75). This represents the sense of peace and tranquility after an event that could have had worse outcomes. The poem is written in a third person point of view which makes the situation a mystery because one does not know what is being said. The author states, “. . .talking to him, talking. . .” (74). The dialogue is never revealed, but the reader can infer that those words were powerful enough to change his decision to end his

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