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Ethics Summary
Linda Pastan

Everything you need to understand or teach Ethics by Linda Pastan.

  • Ethics Summary & Study Guide

Ethics Summary

Introduction

"Ethics" appears in Linda Pastan's sixth volume of poetry, Waiting for My Life (1981), a title that hints at the tensions for which the New York-born poet is best known: the challenges of living in that "waiting" place between the magic and the tedium of the ordinary; between the artistic and the domestic life; between the rewards and the losses of aging and death. A kind of "aesthetic ethic" itself emerges from the body of her poems, one proclaiming that simple language and images of the ordinary are especially capable of bearing mystery and of resisting easy answers.

"Ethics" itself embodies this resistance. The poem takes shape first in a memory from school days and is then bridged, through images of frames and fire, to an understanding acquired in the poet's older years. The question the ethics teacher poses "so many years ago" is unanswerable partly because it is not...

(read more from the Study Guide)

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