Introduction & Overview of For the Sake of Strangers

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For the Sake of Strangers Summary & Study Guide Description

For the Sake of Strangers Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Bibliography on For the Sake of Strangers by Dorianne Laux.

Dorianne Laux's “For the Sake of Strangers” first appeared in her second poetry collection, What We Carry (1994). It was included in Ten Poems to Last a Lifetime (2004), a collection of thought-provoking poems compiled by Roger Housden. The poem is about the experience of continuing through daily life despite feeling immense grief. By using the word “we,” Laux demonstrates that she is writing about a universal experience shared by many of her readers. Much of Laux's poetry strives to reflect shared universal experiences. She is often praised for the way she manages to incorporate detail into poems that explore such shared experiences. Although “For the Sake of Strangers” is about an individual who is struggling with emotional pain, Laux creates a picture of hope as she describes strangers, unaware of the speaker's pain, showing kindness. The poem depicts a remedy to loneliness and hopelessness. The pain felt by the poem's speaker is a common problem, but the solution is somewhat unexpected.

“For the Sake of Strangers” is written in free verse, which gives it a modern appeal and informal tone. Laux uses few literary devices, choosing a straightforward approach to her expression instead. Still, a careful reading of the poem reveals a sophisticated use of subtlety that adds layers of meaning and insight. By describing a series of strangers and their treatment of the grieved person, Laux creates an uplifting picture of the power of the kindness of strangers. She draws understated connections between the people in the poem, pointing to the universality of human experience. The people are strangers to the speaker in the poem, but they are not strangers to the speaker's pain. They have compassion for her because they, too, have felt grief.

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