In "The Possessive," how does the title of the poem relate to the theme?

2 Answers | Add Yours

gbeatty's profile pic

gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The title of the poem "The Possessive" relates directly to its themes. In this piece Olds explores the emotions of a mother who must allow a daughter to grow up. Part of what that involves is the mother shifting how she thinks of the daughter, and, specifically, in how possessive she is of her daughter. At one point she thinks, " My body. My daughter. I’ll have to find another word." This shows how motherhood blurs with affection. Is the daughter hers like her body—something to be possessed forever, something that she controls completely? Or is the "my" in "my daughter" fundamentally different?


We’ve answered 319,180 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question