Responses to Linda Pastan’s “Ethics”
1. Apart from the obvious title, what is this poem about? (Use one word or a short phrase.)
Making choices can be tough.
2. Using the word or phrase you gave in #1, what about what the poem’s about? Write a theme (claim) statement you derive from the poem in your own words. (Complete sentence required.)
Theme: This poem suggests that choosing between saving a famous painting versus an old woman (in a museum on fire) is worthy of debating and not completely obvious.
3. Based upon what you discovered in #2, do you agree with what the poet seems to be suggesting to the reader? Why or why not?
I do not agree with this presumption of the poet’s suggestion. I value a human soul much higher than a painting, even a Rembrandt. I would never forgive myself in the possible case that this old woman was going to repent some time after this scenario, but my choice to save the Rembrandt would then leave her without this opportunity.