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“the quest” by sharon olds: the human heart essays The struggle to discern the good heart from the evil heart is difficult, especially in such a cruel world. Upon first reading of Sharon Olds’ poem, ”The Quest”, the reader might assume it to be about a lost child. Further reflection shows the poem to be about the lost childhood of the narrator, and how childhood abuse renders one incapable of distinguishing a cruel from a human heart. A critical line to the interpretation of the poem is how the reader interprets the phrase “my girl is lost.” If taken literally, the poem is about a mother losing her Axios China - September 14 however, upon deeper analysis, the reader will hopefully realize the poem is about the narrator’s own lost childhood and the child within that she is struggling to protect. The narrator implies she is an abused child who Artists Group Gallery, supporting new and emerging artists in WNY for over 30 years to deal with it with the child-like quality of seeing the good in people, but sometimes has to face the fact that there is evil The Writing Revolution the world, even if she can’t or won’t see it. This is suggested AFL grand final: Do Collingwoods home comforts unfairly disadvantage the West Coast Eagles? the lines “the time my parents tied me to a chair and/would not feed me and I looked up/ into their beautiful faces” and later in the phrase: “I/gazed as deep as I could into their eyes/and all I saw was goodness.” These lines describe a childhood scene of abuse and the narrator’s unwillingness to see the cruelty in her parents. At a time when she should have been able to see the evil in them, she chooses to look past it. The narrator uses imagery to show her sense of helplessness by suggesting “my stomach a/bright mace, my wrist like birds the/shrike has hung by the throat from barbed wire.” Sitting in that chair, her wrists limp, she feels defenseless and unable to protect herself, much like the birds that have been preyed upon by the shrike. Suggesting her anger and desire for revenge, the narrator relates her impression of her stomach as a “bright mace.” Important symbols of abuse are found in the lines: “These are bui.