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Boys are given toy guns and other war related toys that makes war and killing seem exciting.They see war as merely fun and games and don't understand the real life consequences of war.
Most of us can easily picture a typical child's party, loud and hyper boys running about, noise and fun and screaming kids and chaos, but this party seems to be viewed differently by the mother. She sees the boys as "short men" gathering in the living room, not as children having fun.So by acting like generals the boys feel powerful and mature.The speaker uses Irony when she says the boys “get down to playing war, celebrating my son’s life” (26). The boys are mislead into thinking war and violence is acceptable.The speaker uses metaphors to draw a comparisons between the boys and men.When the guests arrive the mother describes them as “short men” (3) and “men in first grade” (3). Cowger AP Lit 5 November 2013 “Rite of Passage” In the poem “Rite of Passage” by Sharon Olds, the speaker, who is the birthday boy’s mother, observes the guests at her son’s birthday party.The boys are constantly trying to prove their power over the others.A turret is the part on a military tank, airplane, or ship from which guns are fired.This cake reflects the boys hostility and violent actions.As the boys threaten and compete against each other a “dark cake, round and heavy as a / turret” (14) lies in the background.Usually a birthday cake is a symbol of celebration and happiness, but this cake is illustrated as a turret that is dark, round, and heavy.