Sylvia plath

Feminist strategies of Syliva Plath.
Sylvia Plath's Ariel, it is clear to see a host of women Concentrating mainly on the poems within struggling against the misogynistic ideals of the 1960's. Sylvia Plath wrote her poems in the 1960¶s, a time when women were still dominated by men. Within the patriarchal society women had set roles to play; they were to remain in the kitchen and were never to voice an unwanted opinion. Plath and the women she portrays in her poems felt suffocated within this domestic prison and were desperate to make a role for themselves outside the dominating misogynist rule. Deeply depressed and emotional a writer she was committed suicide at the age of 30. Influenced by the insightful arguments of earlier feminist studies, many critics continue to consider Plath within a feminist canon and women¶s tradition, often sharply comparing and contrasting Plath with other poets. Paula Bennett¶s my life a loaded gun: Dickinson, Plath, Rich and female creativity claims that the gender of these poets µcentral to their poetic development¶ and identifies the explosion of a repressed poetic self as the major feature of their texts. Largely informed by letters home and plath¶s journals, Bennett offers an intelligent biographical reading of the poetry which examines plath¶s struggle to be confidently creative while seeking acceptance withing a patriarchal society, a dialectic Bennett accurately describes as the conflict between needs the needs of her gender and the requirements of her genre. Sylvia Plath has long been hailed as a feminist writer of great significance. In her 1976 book Literary Women, Ellen Moers writes, "No writer has meant more to the current feminist movement, and still today, at a time when the idea of equality for women isn't so radically revolutionary as it had been earlier in the century, Plath is a literary symbol of the women's rights movement. Roberta Mazzenti quotes Robert A. Piazza as writing that there is "little feminist consciousness" in Plath's work, and goes on to explain that because "Plath's work [is] being read... by readers searching for political sustenance", feminist sentiment that the author never held can easily be attributed to her writing (201). This kind of misguided attribution is illustrated in the opinions of critics like Sheryl Meyering, who states that Sylvia Plath's intense desire to be accepted by men and to eventually marry and have children was purely a product of the constrictive 1950s social mentality

during which the author came to womanhood (xi). A thorough examination of the Plath oeuvre paints a different picture, however. Although Plath's awareness of and distaste for the submissive and insubstantial role a woman in the 1950s was expected to play is apparent from her early journals to the poems completed in the last month of her life, that same body of work also makes plain that she had accepted some of that role for herself on her own terms: a common theme throughout the writing is the author's intense desire to be a beloved and loving wife and, perhaps even more strong, her desire to become a mother--as long as she could still speak from within her "deeper self" through her writing. Plath gives the subject of her divided female selves and opposing aspirations treatment in her 1956 poem "Two Sisters of Persephone". The piece paints a portrait of two sisters, different as dark and light. The first is a logical, mathematical, intellectual, indoorsy sort whose "rat-shrewd squint eyes" and "rootpale meager frame" serve to make her seem hardly a woman at all, not in the feminine sense of womanhood. The second sister is a vibrant, nature-connected woman whose setting clearly makes her a symbol of fertile womanhood: she lounges luxuriantly in the yard, "bronzed as earth", taking in the vivid "red silk flare of petaled blood" of a nearby "bed of poppies". The first of Plath's sisters goes to her grave a virgin, "with flesh laid waste, / Worm-husbanded, yet no woman", while the second becomes the "sun's bride" and "grows quick with seed". To a reader familiar with a bit of the author's background, the poem is quite obviously a self-portrait, wherein Plath sees in herself the potential for a dry, spinsterish life of intellect and little else, alongside the conflicting looming vision of herself as a vital and sparkling woman made complete in motherhood, nature's most lavish gift.

Other poems embody the notion that a man can have the power to make a woman more than she is in and of herself. "Tinker Jack and the Tidy Wives" introduces a Jack of two trades--he takes pride in his metalwork mastery, confidently inviting his audience of an unnamed lady to bring him for mending any pot or dish marred by age or imperfection, and then goes on to observe that he can make good as new her "face / Fallen from luster" as well as her cracked, scarred heart. In "Widow", the man who makes a woman whole is conspicuous by his absence. After her split with her husband, Sylvia Plath did not vengefully shake off the trappings of domestic life and reinvent herself as a new and different woman, nor

did she sink into herself and become an overharried mother with no time and no energy for her art. It's been written time again of how she found the balance between the responsibilities of single motherhood and the demands and desires of her art: the poet began to write between four and eight a.m., before her babies had awakened for the day. The poems of this period are the ones universally hailed as the strongest, the deepest, the most profoundly Plath of all her work, and she began to churn them out with astonishing speed. And still, the domestic thread remained. Already mentioned in this paper was the burdened knowing of the hard lives her children would undoubtedly encounter in the harsh and lonely world that Plath expressed in "Nick and the Candlestick" and "Mary's Song". Another poignant piece which shows to the reader the poet's reflection on the future of her childrenwould they suffer at the hands of the world as she had?-is "For a Fatherless Son" (CP 205-206). There is no hateful bitterness toward the father who betrayed his family and moved away in this poem: only the melancholy knowledge that the innocence of her youthful baby will not last: "You will be aware of an absence, presently, / Growing beside you, like a tree". A poem with such a title might easily be written as a spiteful lashing out of a mother's misdirected, uncontrollable rage at her son for her philandering husband's betrayals, but Plath chose to focus instead on the sad truth of one more sad truth which her son would grow up carrying on his back. There are other among Plath's poems that do not seem to be so directly personal to her own life, that help to fill in the tile-blanks of the literary mosaic which form a picture of Plath as a willing and even wanting wife and then mother. Plath's being labeled a confessional poet and the idea that "biographical and historical material is absolutely necessary for any real understanding of Plath's work" (Mazzenti 197) is a common one, but her work was not always strictly quasi-autobiographical in nature. In the fictive speakers of her poetic "I"s, we yet and still see images and ideas strongly and positively identified with domesticity. "The Munich Mannequins" (CP 262-263) begins with the almost harsh, certainly critical line "Perfection is terrible, it cannot have children". The poem is a portrait of mannequins in snow-drifted shop windows who represent artificial women whose perfection in beauty is accompanied by sterility and barrenness, "Unloosing their moons, month after month, to no purpose." Pamela Annas writes, "For Sylvia Plath, stasis and perfection are always associated with sterility" (137), and we see this metaphor prominent in "The Munich Mannequins". Also, in "Lesbos" (CP 227), the speaker of the poem who goes to visit a "sad hag" who resents her husband and her child and urges the speaker to wear racy clothes and pick up men. The speaker, a married mother of two herself, cannot understand the cheap, bitter mentality of the woman she visits: "Even in your Zen heaven we shan't meet."

The poems remain relevant because they explore the big themes and our personal hells ± all the stuff of which life consists. the raising of children. the most important things were always those she created: her poems. What also stuns me about Plath is that her work still sounds completely contemporary and makes many of the younger poets currently writing .. a life nurturer. the speaker presents herself as a responsible mother. certainly ± but it¶s the extremes of experience which are so fascinating and stimulating. She does have an undeniable appeal to adolescents in her poems which rage against men. her children. identified strongly with the domesticity that the woman she visits scorns" (Dickie 179). see a kindred spirit at work. For Plath. But where her writing speaks of her inner dualities.Margaret Dickie writes of this selection. extreme experiences. "Despite her own emotional difficulties. Generally she deals with life at its extremity. the creation of what she could create to leave her dual stamps of Woman and of Wit in indelible imprint on her world. women in search of their sole identities and in search of a liberated independence. "Miss Plath doesn't claim to 'speak for' any time or anyone-and yet she does. which must have been for her the terrible crushing of a long-cherished dream. it also speaks of a woman who did want to be fully a woman. and to claim as hers some of the very things that so many women who call themselves feminists have rejected in their own searches for completion: love of a man. and sometimes even to extreme resentment and jealousy of men for what they had that she did not. in many contrasting senses of the word. and that society would not make it easy for her. because she speaks so accurately" (Rosenthal 365). Even in the aftermath of a disintegrated marriage. But the poems continue to haunt me now that I¶m well past adolescence (and now a wife and a mother). those which appear to dwell on suicide and those in which she makes reference to her sessions. Writes Lucy Rosenthal. she retained the determination to be not only the great poet she'd so long dreamed of becoming. Perhaps it is in the witness of the struggle to do both and to do both well that feminists. but also a responsible mother beyond reproach. This seems to be at the very crux of the claiming of Sylvia Plath by the feminist establishment: that the author was painfully aware that to become all she wanted to become would be to break the binds of stereotype and sexual double standard.

a servant to her husband. that makes her appeal to young people. But I don¶t think even Sylvia Plath would have wished to be a kind of Doris Day woman. Over-wordy. over-academic. Or rather. after all. all swirly skirts and cookie production. This is rock n roll. even (dare I say it?) masculine qualities. as much as her subject matter. even as we love them. Take a line such as "A man in black with a Meinkampf look" ("Daddy"). And that all-important fixed on smile. but I think it¶s worth at least attempting to read the poems as they stand. in broad terms. . or a poem like "Gigolo". but still dislike individual women. this hypnotic poem is like a sinister. "Eavesdropper"). It¶s for these reasons. snappy ± and are not hidebound by the constraints of academia and what is deemed acceptable poetry by the pundits of the day. It¶s pointless to try to mould Plath into a feminist. her work remains relevant ± to both genders. I can be a feminist. either way. Gender apart. but it¶s still possible to say that she wrote feminist poems. what she did was to give me the courage to be a feminist and still be vindictive. Back to the rightly famous "Daddy" ± with its repeated "oo" sound. "The Applicant" has a go at the whole concept of the conventional marriage. It¶s perhaps impossible to separate the poetry from what we imagine to be the woman. Her poems flow like sparkling rain ± slangy. Read it simply as remarkable poetry written by a poet who went straight for the heart: "And I/Am the arrow". Even the poems ostensibly about death (and derided. rather than submission and subservience. Plath may have rejected feminism.sound old-fashioned and straight-jacketed. the tone of many of her poems is one of revenge and aggression. I think it¶s all too easy to get bogged down in the Plath Myth and all the attendant theorising. for me. jealous«I don¶t believe that even a committed feminist has to love the concept of "wimmin" and womanhood wholesale. But. in which the little woman is simply "it" ± "A living doll«". Many of Plath¶s poems are certainly not in the voice of Mrs Mop with a can of Mr Sheen. twisted nursery rhyme. The poems have a toughness. along with anything that smacks of the deathwish) are often about metaphorical deaths ± and a death which leads to a rebirth or a renewal: "I rise with my red hair/And I eat men like air". I think. stripped of the biography. We¶re not all of a piece. of course. We can even hate our mothers. as vital and stunning as anything you¶d get in a jewel case from HMV. On the "subject" of women she was often loaded with spite and mockery ("Face Lift".

Her first awarded story. wounds. Bennett does affectionately employ the rhetoric of psychoanalysis but all finally learnt how to discard the mask and speak directly from the unaccpetable core of their biengs to claim their loaded guns. thus she saw suicide as a permanent solution to her problem and then she gassed herself. To understand the connection between physical vulnerability and ironic self-rejection in women poets. She also projects human anatomy into the natural world tulips when the poet is hospitalized have sudden tongues and eat my oxygen. Plath worked in 1953 on the college editorial board at the same magazine and suffered a mental breakdown which led to a suicide attempt. convicted of spying for the Soviets. their redness talks to my wound it corresponds they are opening like the mouth of some great african cat. But her life was a misery and she couldn¶t survive for too long as she committed suicide at the age of 30 as she couldn¶t bear the abandonment of her husband and kid. Thus getting into the depression mode she started writing poetries and confided in it as she widely starting depending on writing as a stress and depression buster. Plath¶s work is filled with body images both internal and external skin. during the hot summer in which the Rosenbergs were sent to the electric chair. feet. skulls. which was published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas in 1963. Bennett continues the feminist groundwork of the 1970¶s yet even in a reading that parallels plath¶s biography and poetry giving particular emphasis to the dynamics of the relationship between mother and daughter. Against this . blood . "Sunday at the Mintons. legs.Feminist critic increasingly become preoccupied with exploring plath¶s portrayal of family relationships within a western canon. a month before her death. her autobiographical novel. She writes of both male and female bodies. arms. But still there was an emptiness in her that not even writing could fulfill. The novel takes place in New York at the height of the Cold War. They breathe lightly through their white swaddlings like an awful baby. is uselful to consider sylvia plath who appears most thoroughly to have internalized the larger culture¶s principal of flesh rejection and aspiration towards transcendence. lungs. Sylvia Plath got many awards for her poetries and many short stories. mouths and tongues. heart and veins." was published in 1952 while she was at college in magazine Mademoiselle. bone. She described this period of her live in THE BELL JAR. She has a great impact on women as it attracted loads of women readers who merrily read her poems which were depressing but also projected that women were no less than men.

D. as continuing a patriarchal oppression she had experienced in life. particularly his destruction of her final journal. not least by Hughes himself in his collection Birthday Letters. the feminist movement adopting her as an icon and interpreting Hughes' role as her literary executor. Plath's own work. With J. which give his view of their marriage in a series of tender and searing poems. refuses to be overshadowed by her tragic biography: in 1982 she became the first poet to be posthumously. One example of this is the Celtic women who defend themselves from the men¶s attack. But the Feminist movement did not start with Sylvia Plath at the 20th century. s Debate has raged ever since over who was to blame for Plath's early death. with its intense sometimes shocking use of metaphor and her exploration of extreme states of mind. The book is considered a powerful exploration of the restricted role of women.background Plath sets the story of the breakdown and near-death of her heroine. Salinger's The Cather in the Rye it is recognized as a classic of adolescent angst. More recently this interpretation has been challenged. . It is thought that any resistance of the woman to the society is a beginning of feminism.

So many of us! So many of us! We are shelves. Perfectly voiceless. Bland-mannered. Soft fists insist on Heaving the needles. We Diet on water. Earless and eyeless. our noses Take hold on the loam. . we are meek. Widen the crannies. Nobody sees us. Acquire the air. betray us. Shoulder through holes. Even the paving. our rams. asking Little or nothing. Stops us. The leafy bedding. we are Tables.Mushroom -Sylvia Plath Overnight. On crumbs of shadow. The small grains make room. Very quietly Our toes. We are edible. Our hammers. very Whitely. discreetly.

Our kind multiplies: We shall by morning Inherit the earth.Nudgers and shovers In spite of ourselves. Our foot's in the door. .

Analysis of the poem Mushroom. it refers to the hard work women are performing to gain more rights. For example. Mushrooms has various different aspects. Sylvia Plath was a feminist and the poem is referring to women. It was written in 1959. but rather the whole of the underclass in society. It is about the growth of a child in her womb. the disabled. like the growth of mushrooms in a dark and airless room. it has softly sinister edge without being dark or overbearing. This poem reflects the needs of these people and also that they word will one day open up its eye and that they are not going away. Quietly and discreetly. the raciality segregated . She is terrified about what is going on in her body with the soft fists hammers and rams. When they are pushing through leaves and even pavement. These . a period when women were looked down upon. The outcasts. the mushroom is her unborn baby. Mushrooms is a metaphor used to describe the emergence of women. The baby is taking over her life just as mushrooms take over everything in their path. 3) This poem is not specifically about feminist groups. It instead forced us to see how the weak and soft who watch from the back row will eventually inherit the earth as it will be the strong ones who destroy themselves. 1) It could be about sylvia¶s imminent birth. 2) This is one of plath¶s strangest poems. The whole poem is an extended metaphor. they are rising to power.

By using a metaphor likening mushrooms to women. The theme of this poem could be said to be "never underestimate the masses. Everyone's time will come. people were marginalized and treated in an unjust and discriminatory way. Persistent struggle is a central theme overall in this poem but Plath's word choices clearly narrow the minority down to women. businesses etc are all promoted and supported by ordinary labour individuals. "Mushrooms" is a striking social commentary on the struggles of women to overcome the restraints of the housewife image. She understood the power of the masses. Written in 1960. Sylvia Plath was not a woman to be bound by prejudices and the limiting ideas of the time. The emergence of mass movements and of the ordinary people who came out in thousands to support labour movements are what finally ended the regime known as Apartheid. For it is those ordinary individuals that shaped the world." Looking at South Africa for example. The economy. their time is coming and they will inherit the earth. 4) Sylvia Plath was a young woman poet. They are finally "inheriting" what is owed to them and what they have accomplished. The Earth is theirs so why should they not claim what is owed to them. and population expansion with women's fight for notability. independence. she . an idea which is not so farfetched. She was not going to be put down just by the social inequities of the past. Plath parallels a mushroom's growth. determination. She felt stuck in an unhappy marriage and wrote hundreds of poems during her life. Her poem aims to send the message that no matter how weak a person may be alone.mushroom represent themselves and strike back against the facist society in which we live. Plath herself was torn on this subject however. she bites back at male dominance and with brutal honesty displays the real position of women in society. relations between countries. Sylvia Plath is acknowledging that even the weak can come into power. Her only book the Bell Jar also follows the psyche of women in a world where they now have more opportunities than before. inevitable control of the majority. the masses can always accomplish what may be considered to be impossible alone. People who were undermined in the past. Sylvia Plath's strong feministic views can be found in many of her works. "Mushrooms" seems to be overlooked as a manifestation of this. it may not necessarily be directed to women as such but to any group of individuals that are discriminated against or undermined. and as she sees it. possibly due to the subtlety in her use of metaphors. diplomacy.

Living in the shadow of their husband's opinions and desires. / Earless and eyeless. likewise Plath insists women's persistence is their greatest weapon. / Even the paving" (line 10). / On crumbs of shadow. but still pushing. Loam is a mixture of sand. There is smugness evident in her diction. their painstaking efforts were expanding their influence and progressing their status. such starvation shows a struggle for a pleasing image. clay. Mushrooms grow and thrive because of their natural determination to overcome obstacles. "Our hammers. our noses / Take hold of the loam. While women had limited knowledge and effect on political and social decisions that impacted everyone. / Bland-mannered. "We are shelves. Issues of domesticity are frequent in "Mushrooms". they are pushing through obstacles slowly and laboriously. The link between a mushroom and a woman of the 1950's is not hard to establish. Water is a meager form of sustenance to diet on. if women are so powerless why are they expanding? Women's steadfastness is what will break them through the barriers of male dominance and allow them independence. our rams. we are/ Tables. "Soft fists insist on / Heaving the needles. much like the mushroom. Women were still second class citizens and subject to their husband's opinions and decisions. /Our kind multiplies" (line 28). Plath writes. / Perfectly voiceless. "Nudgers and shovers/ In spite of ourselves. Women are gaining ground. Shoulder through the holes" (line 15). we are meek" (line 25). Further feminine descriptions can be found throughout the poem. Hammers and rams are certainly powerful tools used to breakdown barriers with persistence. women sprout out of the manure of their social position.had witnessed the impact of gender discrimination yet strived to be the immaculate loving wife and mother. toes and noses are human-like descriptions and also dainty body parts often thought of as womanly. Plath is still pointing out the importance of persistence. / widen the crannies. Thus being bland-mannered and submissive. Forcing themselves forward was the only way women could gain acceptance. / The leafy bedding. "Diet on water. and straw often used to make bricks. / acquire the air" (line 5). illustrating the diminished status of women. such a basic necessity for life has to be sought after. women conformed as was expected of them without expecting to be treated as an equal human being. Plath writes "Our toes. Soft skin and physical weakness are also characteristics associated with women and perceived as traits that make women inferior to men. The fact that they must acquire air is a sign that it is not a given. With jabbing sarcasm Plath writes. Women are strong and can even be violent despite men's conceptions of their shortcomings and weaknesses. These are utilitarian descriptions representing a woman's place in the home as a silent and timid necessity. women rarely expressed any ideas of their own that might have disagreed. asking / Little or nothing" (line 20). Meekness is recurrent throughout the poem. .

Plath's feministic tendencies are evident in many other pieces. and so began her attempts at being the perfect housewife while maintaining her career as a writer. Devoney Looser writes. Plath's "loosely autobiographical novel" The Bell Jar "has its moment of feminist impulse and insight" (Looser). Plath writes. Men's demeaning perspective of a woman's potential actually works to their advantage. When she was eight years old her father died. "We shall by morning / Inherit the earth. thus she observed the difficulties a single mother must contend with in a male driven society. In "The Poetics of Torture: The Spectacle of Sylvia Plath's Poetry" Lisa Narbeshuber writes. .186). Sylvia Plath married the famous poet Ted Hughes and had two children. "Most criticism reads "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus" around the psychology of Plath's life. Sylvia Plath had conflicted feelings on domesticity. she felt compelled to fulfill the expectations of a married woman and mother yet she also passionately believed women were competent and deserved the right to break free of their domestic restrictions and pursue careers. Domesticity. "Writing her mother from Cambridge. Plath grew up with an independent female rolemodel. women do hold certain legal rights. "Nobody sees us. Plath declares that she will transform her kitchen into "an ad out of House and Gardens with Ted's help" hardly the bohemian image we expect" (Bryant. betrays us" (line 10). The first step is already accomplished. Marsha Bryant wrote of her eagerness to please her new husband. The theme of meekness climaxes in the last stanza of "Mushrooms" transforming into an empowering prophecy. "Sylvia Plath: Overview"). especially her most famous works. there is no need to stop a fragile woman from doing something she is not capable of. then as the feminist struggles of a victorious woman over man" (Narbeshuber. they will have the majority. Devoney Looser acknowledges Plath's views in further works. Feminism is such an obvious reading in the bulk of Plath's work it is surprising that "Mushrooms" isn't critiqued in the same manner. Aurelia taught secretarial skills and struggled to raise her daughter Sylvia and her younger son Warren" (Looser. "So many of us! So many of us! (line 23). Countless women began examining their lives from a new perspective. Plath writes. if not exclusively as a biography. "After Otto's death.Plath documents how the impending assertion of women into the professional world was trivial to the all-powerful man. now it is a matter of gaining independence and breaking away from the housewife stereotype. Despite the increase of women taking part in the movement men still failed to take them seriously. and the Art of Advertising"18). / Stops us. her mother. Such a statement in her own words proves Plath's desire to conform to societal norms which directly conflicts with being a successful female writer. / Our foot's in the door" (line 30). "Plath. Once women emerge from the despair of their darkness.

The poet describes the freedom and beauty is to contrast himself.Yeats creates a mood of sadness because he lost his love. . This show that the swans are the opposite side of him and it also shows that how sad he was. the swans enjoyed their life and their heart will not grown old. He thought that nothing can last long and everything has to go away and die. the poet Sylvia Plath used the techniques of assonance and enjambment. After that he writes something about those swans. they will be nearly almost there from their goal. He was exhausted and tired of the romance already. By telling the scenery. Meanwhile. however her works reflect much more meaningful and socially relevant ideas. he expresses his sadness as well. He uses nine-and-fifty to describe there are fifty nine swans as he wants this poem to be more romantic. They can be represented women. we can feel that the poet W.B. It is because he does not have a goal like swans fly to the south every year. it shows that the mushrooms want to get in from and it seems that they want to be show in somewhere as well. black people or other low status people in the society. his sadness will be more realistic and people might feel for him as well. By showing the bright and pretty side of the world. Once they get over it. They are facing a challenge. In the last stanza. he tells the readers that he was very sad. In the first few stanzas. Later. Since he also describes some beautiful creatures and what he has seen. the poet shows that he is frightened about his future. the poet creates a mood of sneaky. He tries to describe the surroundings where he was. Besides. In the poem of "The Wild Swans at Coole".Sylvia Plath's writing is typically associated with images of death and suicide. In the poem of "Mushrooms". This help to create a movement feeling through different stanzas. Plath was very opinionated on women's rights as is evident.

The peanut-crunching crowd Shoves in to see Them unwrap me hand and foot The big strip tease. soon the flesh The grave cave ate will be At home on me And I a smiling woman. ladies These are my hands My knees. My face a featureless. It was an accident. I may be skin and bone. Gentlemen. I am only thirty. Peel off the napkin 0 my enemy. . I am the same. Nevertheless. Do I terrify?---The nose. The first time it happened I was ten. my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade. What a trash To annihilate each decade. My right foot A paperweight. the full set of teeth? The sour breath Will vanish in a day. What a million filaments. fine Jew linen. identical woman.Lady Lazarus -Sylvia Plath I have done it again. One year in every ten I manage it---A sort of walking miracle. the eye pits. And like the cat I have nine times to die. This is Number Three. Soon.

I am your valuable. Herr Doktor. so. It's the theatrical Comeback in broad day To the same place. I rocked shut As a seashell. there is a charge For the hearing of my heart---It really goes. It's easy enough to do it and stay put. the same face. I turn and burn. Do not think I underestimate your great concern. So. Ash. the same brute Amused shout: 'A miracle!' That knocks me out. There is a charge For the eyeing of my scars. They had to call and call And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls. . a very large charge For a word or a touch Or a bit of blood Or a piece of my hair or my clothes. Dying Is an art. So.The second time I meant To last it out and not come back at all. It's easy enough to do it in a cell. The pure gold baby That melts to a shriek. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it exceptionally well. ash --You poke and stir. And there is a charge. like everything else. I am your opus. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call. Herr Enemy.

there is nothing there---A cake of soap. Herr Lucifer Beware Beware. .Flesh. A gold filling. Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And I eat men like air. bone. A wedding ring. Herr God.

obsessions. It has also been known to have caused the poet to hate her father for the pain his death inflicted on her. Take note that the entire "Lady Lazarus" poem can be found at the end of this essay. their relationship started to go stale. "I have done it again. In recording her previous suicide attempts. write or eat properly. It introduces the idea of suicide and . "Lady Lazarus" and other poems of that genre were written. However. Sylvia returned to her old suicidal habits. or Lady Lazarus. During this feverish period of her life. Sylvia Plath. suicide is considered to be one of the darkest taboos. "Lady Lazarus" conveys a message about her own life. after having their first child. At a very young age. Sylvia Plath was born on October 27th. This poem has always fascinated me in terms of the figurative language and the ever-precise vocabulary that is used. she demonstrated great literary talent and a hardworking attitude. three years later. "Lady Lazarus. her father deceased of diabetes. One year in every ten I manage it³" This first stanza acts as an introduction to the poem. 'reincarnated' after each suicide attempt. a first impression is made." to the book of John's Lazarus of Bethany. she makes comparisons that are not always obvious to decipher or to understand without the right background information. In light of her suicidal tendencies. publishing her first poem at the age of eight and maintaining a straight A record throughout all of her studies. renowned poet Ted Hughes. In American culture. Twenty-year-old Plath committed her first near-successful suicide attempt after a whole month of not being able to sleep. 1932 of two parents in a middleclass household in Boston. is one of them. the illustrious 20th century poetess. Upon reading the title. and feelings.Analysis of lady lazarus. As Lazarus was resurrected from the dead. and finally adultery on both their parts caused their painful separation. This event in her life is what most specialists believe to have triggered her depressive tendencies. It has the particular quality of being equally gripping and repulsive. gruesome and disturbing. There is also a hint of her feministic side present in "lady. Although suicide is seen as overtly morbid. Plath creatively uses biblical allusion to connect the title of her poem. A few days after she turned eight. She recovered from her nervous breakdown and met her to-be husband. it has made many people famous. weaknesses. Soon enough. so is Plath. while gathering the information necessary and using a decorticating method. I believe to have been able to make an estimated guess of the message Sylvia Plath intended to render when writing this poem." a word that projects an image of a powerful woman. The poem serves as a metaphor that retains a morbid sensation through its description of the author·s psychological journey.

Moreover. She specifies these later on in the poem. "A sort of walking miracle." When Plath declares "One year in every ten / I manage it. Between these comparisons. and ends up contrasting this image with the softer more subdued metaphor. She also . the eye pits. the audience. too heavy to move or act against these. by suicide. my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade. she refers to herself as "A sort of walking miracle. fine Jew linen." which are rather ambiguous. "I have done it again" could be translated as "I have tried to kill myself again. like the Nazis. Plath dares her enemy to "Peel off the napkin. She then uses the gritty and powerful comparison "Bright as a Nazi lampshade" to describe her skin. which withers beneath her willpower. She is two different personas in this poem: the Nazis and the Jews." Although she is speaking to one distinct person in the poem. My face a featureless. "My right foot / A paperweight. fine / Jew linen. These references to the holocaust are her way to demonstrate how she imposes. Most of us are terrified by such a sight. this is an invitation to everyone who wants to observe her with all the awe and disgust this performance inspires. as if she were a freak show. mention later that there is a charge to watch her. The first verse demonstrates this. the strong and the weak. one per decade and one being premeditated at this stage." These stanzas mark the beginning of the crude sarcasm the author uses throughout Lady Lazarus. To the enemy and to those who are willing to watch." which reflects the meaning of the title." she refers to the equal repartition of her near-death experiences." For the times when Plath was 'resurrected' from the dead. linen clothing. she asks the rhetorical question. which is the victim in a state of deterioration and weakness. the full set of teeth? The sour breath Will vanish in a day. a paperweight. Lady Lazarus is miraculously raised from the dead. "a featureless. her will to commit suicide on her body. She does. like the Jews. I noticed that these objects to which she compares herself may as well be things that were on her desk or within her eyesight when she wrote this: a lampshade." to depict her face. though. My right foot A paperweight. "Peel off the napkin O my enemy. which designates the suicidal tyrant that lives within her. "Do I terrify?" We know as the reader. that the answer is yes. They might mean that she cannot escape these archetypes that live in her given that she feels as if she were nailed to the ground. Do I terrify? ³ The nose. there are the subtle verses.death.

And like the cat I have nine times to die. "The peanut-crunching crowd" designates everyone really. her self-disgust manifests itself in "What a trash / To annihilate each decade. its invading quality. the first stanza is a continuation of the idea of the restoration of her original self. she reassures us derisively that she can get over that within a day. restoring her original beauty. she declares that "This is Number Three. What a trash To annihilate each decade. as if the act of committing suicide were a big and exciting occasion. Plath·s family. who both have "nine times to die. the markers of each decade. as quickly as she swelled with pride. strength and healthy state of mind. I am only thirty. all these being at equal intervals." These "million filaments" could be a physical representation of her guilt. death emanates from her face and bears a certain walking dead quality. "Soon.wants us to look at her face especially. or Plath may also be referring to the earth-bottomed crevice in the cellar of her house where she attempted suicide at twenty with sleeping pills. she states her age with the pride of someone who has a lifetime ahead of them and makes a witty comparison with the cat and herself. "a smiling woman. she is not beaten yet. . which she had characterized as the victim earlier: "The nose. The verse acts as a continuation of the self-disgust expressed in the previous stanza. in a boastful tone. including the doctors." The capitalization of "Number Three" is effective in blowing out the proportions of this event. the eye pits. the full set of teeth?" The speaker·s appearance is infallible evidence to her condition. In the last two verses. which in fact translates Plath·s position on the matter. soon the flesh The grave cave ate will be At home on me And I a smiling woman. This is Number Three. Next. that she tried to kill herself at twenty with the sleeping pill incident. The peanut-crunching crowd Shoves in to see Them unwrap me hand and foot The big strip tease." "The grave cave" signifies death." These verses also confirm the fact that she nearly died at ten in a drowning accident. Although her face is now wan and drained. "What a million filaments. Then. and that she will be trying again at thirty." Then." In this section.

ladies" here is purely satirical and is meant to mock the audience. "The second time I meant To last it out and not come back at all. when she tried to kill herself with sleeping pills. ladies These are my hands My knees. Her mother and brother found her only three days later. Then. identical woman. I may be skin and bone. "Dying Is an art. as mentioned in the last verse. the same shameful "peanut-crunching crowd" as before." yet she reassures us that she is "the same.and the reader." She emphasizes the fact that she has been reduced to "skin and bone[s]. We are still. are to be ashamed of ourselves if we accept the invitation. I am the same. I rocked shut As a seashell. she has not changed. She mentions the swimming incident that nearly cost her her life when she was ten. It was purely accidental. as the readers. and yet we. identical woman" in spite of her altered physical appearance. it is "The big strip tease. practically dead. Plath doesn·t forget to speak of the second time she nearly died. I do it exceptionally well." This crowd also seeks an illicit source of arousal. She offers herself to the crowd like a vulgar piece of meat. Nevertheless. It was an accident. The crowd is aggressive as it "shoves in to see. They had to call and call And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls. at twenty. if not from her naked body. as any good guide would do. The first time it happened I was ten. This was the first time she skimmed death. then from her naked psyche. Her self-aggrandizing gestures invite attention. Plath acts as a guide at this particular point as she demonstrates her features: "These are my hands / My knees." and its interest is lascivious as they undress her. "unwrap" her. She was terribly well hidden like the second verse of the second stanza suggests." The usage of "Gentlemen. she supplies a historical record of past events." Naturally. with earthworms crawling over her. . in fact. She had "rock shut // As a seashell" in the earthbottomed crevice in the cellar of her house. "Gentlemen. like everything else.

" In the first stanza of this excerpt. as it is only "the theatrical // Comeback in broad day / To the same place. "'A miracle!' That knocks me out. she describes the disappointment she feels when she realizes she is still in this world. They're watching a magic trick being performed: 'A miracle!' They are amused by the fact that death nearly took her from them. and brags about the fact that she is talented in doing so as in anything else: "Dying / Is an art. / I do it exceptionally well. Next. unattainable and expensive as she needs to charge them "For the hearing of [her] heart" or her naked psyche. Plath considers dying like an exploit of sorts. you could nearly say it accomplishes itself on its own as Plath summons death upon herself so fervently. the crowd is in awe and entertained but completely indifferent to the fact that she is alive still. Plath provides an insight on how easy she finds it is to commit suicide: "It·s easy enough to do it in a cell.I do it so it feels like hell. She is a martyr. the same face." As she is resurrected. the same face. the same brute / Amused shout. I do it so it feels real. the same brute Amused shout:" In these following stanzas." It has become an obsession for her at this point." It is another act for the same harassing audience to attend and observe." This is where we are shown her perfectionist and masochistic selves surfacing and intertwining as she makes sure that she is real about it: "I do it so it feels like hell. I guess you could say I've a call. like "a call" or something related to fate. there is a charge For the hearing of my heart³ It really goes. "It's easy enough to do it in a cell. here. This kind of business "really goes. / I do it so it feels real. like everything else. Plath. There is a charge For the eyeing of my scars." says the author. / It·s easy enough to do it and stay put. makes a connection to the fact that the holocaust business has become a highly profitable entertainment industry . It's easy enough to do it and stay put." In her case. It's the theatrical Comeback in broad day To the same place.

" and this exhausts her to a point where she "melts to a shriek. she is either one·s masterpiece. This unserious depiction is found in the following sardonic verses: "And there is a charge. so. the typical doctor may see her as an opportunity to receive gratitude. she does not want anyone to save her or to have pity on her. thus far unspecified." which mean 'mister' and 'doctor' respectively. Subsequently. Herr Enemy. Do not think I underestimate your great concern. Herr Doktor. this polite impression fails when we take into consideration the sarcastic tone behind it." Or yet still. a scholar like Otto Plath. The pure gold baby That melts to a shriek. "And there is a charge." However. like Jesus or such personages. / The pure gold baby." In these stanzas." They very crudely ridicule the commercialization of Jesus. she reassures him that she knows he·s trying to do what he thinks is best for her: "Do not think I underestimate your great concern. a very large charge For a word or a touch Or a bit of blood Or a piece of my hair or my clothes." Finally. a very large charge / For a word or a touch / Or a bit of blood // Or a piece of my hair or my clothes. or to do a good deed in bringing her back to life.' which turns out to be the enemy from the beginning of the poem." a "pure gold baby. ." "turn[s] and burn[s]. In her ironically pretentious way. there are other holocaust-related elements. I turn and burn." Still addressing herself to the 'Doktor. to become locally famous. In reality. an "opus. the image Plath creates of herself is overblown as usual. I am your valuable. her father. The enemy. is either a German male figure of authority.over the years. as I mentioned. So. "I am your opus. with more diplomacy. So. as she says she is his "valuable. "Herr" and "Doktor. Otto Plath may be whom she·s talking to. She taunts and pokes fun at him using mock movie talk. Whether she is the daughter or the patient. Plath portrays herself as a parody while the people treat her as if she were a martyr.' she is defining what she represents for him. religious entities and even the holocaust. who thinks of the speaker as his "pure gold baby" or she may simply be referring to doctors in general who keep reviving her after each fruitless attempt. the 'Nazi Doktor. such as the usage of German terms. She turns away from the audience to address a single person.

her much-anticipated compilation of poetry. as Plath accomplishes her own resurrection." she declares that she has defeated all her enemies. This may allude to the use of an oven perhaps. make wedding rings and gold fillings. as this would hint to the method by which she would try to kill herself in the future. ash³ You poke and stir. but they did. she immortalized herself and became extremely popular after her death with her collection of poetry Ariel. Sylvia Plath finally has triumphed as her own puppet and puppet master. Although nothing much remains of her at this point. "Herr God. We can clearly see how she grows stronger by the end of the poem as she rises "Out of the ash" like a phoenix with "red hair. she is growing vengeful as her tone becomes grittier. the businessmen who sold her body to the crowd. Although she was never truly acclaimed as a writer during her lifetime. unlike the biblical miracle of Lazarus of Bethany. and perhaps her father. can be found in this collection. On February 11th. which was written within the last few months of her life and published two years after her death. with her concluding and blatantly feministic verse." In this passage. She has burnt and reduced herself to ashes and nothingness in the first stanza shown here." In an access of anger and grandiosity. Flesh. rings and fillings. Plath is revolted by her own dehumanization and she would love to triumph over the enemy after she dies. she warns the great powers from above and below: "Herr God. She expresses this as if she were going to be made into merchandise. bone. Collected Poems. Sylvia Plath committed suicide successfully by inhaling the gas from her stove. which once again refers to the Nazis. In the process. In spite of . she acknowledges no power greater than herself. however. who manufactured their victims· hair. bones." Finally."Ash. 1963. there is nothing there³ A cake of soap. skin. that had made a valid prediction of her destiny. she knows the enemy will be profiting from her death. was finally released in 1981 and in 1982 won a rarely posthumously-awarded Pulitzer Prize. A gold filling. Historians are not certain that Nazis made cakes of soap with them. a few months after having written "Lady Lazarus". Herr Lucifer Beware Beware. The famous poem "Lady Lazarus". all the men in her life: the doctors who kept reviving her. "I eat men like air. A wedding ring. In concluding this poem." Additionally. Herr Lucifer / Beware / Beware. Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And I eat men like air.

. there is no doubt that Sylvia Plath would have been extremely proud.her self-depreciating tendencies.

Then the substanceless blue Pour of tor and distances. Nigger-eye Berries cast dark Hooks ---Black sweet blood mouthfuls.The furrow Splits and passes. hair. And I Am the arrow. Flakes from my heels. Suicidal. God's lioness. Shadows. I unpeel ---Dead hands. a glitter of seas. sister to The brown arc Of the neck I cannot catch. Something else Hauls me through air ---Thighs. . The dew that flies. Pivot of heels and knees! -. White Godiva. at one with the drive Into the red Eye. And now I Foam to wheat. How one we grow. The child's cry Melts in the wall.Ariel -Sylvia Plath Stasis in darkness. dead stringencies. the cauldron of morning.

edition).S. Sylvia Plath's Ariel is one of the most important books of poetry of the 20 century. Instead. in 1965 and sold a phenomenal 15. But that manuscript was never published. several poems had been bumped out of their original order.K. Plath's estranged husband²of whom she had lately written "I hate and despise him so I can hardly speak"²had made the changes. were all too happy to skip the questioning and issue an indictment. she left behind a manuscript titled Ariel and Other Poems. Ted Hughes. But is it a halcyon moment for Plath's poetry? The new edition is undoubtedly useful (though it is marred by several factual mistakes). and 15 new ones added in their place. th . especially feminist literary critics. It wasn't until last month that Plath's version of Ariel was published. They tore Hughes to shreds for what they presumed was a self-protective rearrangement² outraged at the male arrogance of his intrusion. when Plath committed suicide. as The Restored Edition: Ariel. inviting some charged questions about his apparent conflict of interest as both Plath's executor and the impugned subject of her poetry. with a foreword by the poets' daughter. In February of 1963. Plath's followers. Frieda Hughes. 12 of the poems Plath had included had been cut. In the U. a very different book called Ariel arrived in bookshops in the U.Analysis of Ariel.K. edition (which varies slightly from the U. But there's a good case to be made that Hughes' version of Ariel is actually superior to Plath's²and that Plath herself might have agreed. An overflowing "worldwide premiere" reading by poets and critics took place in Manhattan last week²a halcyon moment for Plath's supporters.000 copies in 10 months. and among the most controversial.

They taste the spring. in the last few weeks of her life. carefully plotting a path from "love" to "spring" (the first and last words of the book)." which were more conventional (and repetitive).Plath began to put together the manuscript that became the framework for Ariel in late 1961 or early 1962." the book's title poem. to help clarify what he took to be her story line²the story of a woman triumphing over great peril only to later succumb to a version of her own "selfconquering self." inspired by Plath's electroshock therapy./ They have . Hughes also added a few older poems.") seems forced and self-conscious. cutting a labored opening sequence back. as she herself predicted in the febrile flush of composition. a little afraid of her own poems." and the exquisite "Edge." What Hughes did was to take these poems. astonishingly pitched quietude²like Emily Dickinson's "formal feeling" that follows grief²and add about a dozen of them. as Hughes himself later said." to the end of her manuscript. funny. And at 4 a. Plath was still. read the drafts of the "Ariel" poem itself. it was the redemptive story of a self overcoming the elemental forces that threaten her²a coherent allegory of rebirth. Their hopefulness ("The bees are flying. the poems that. Plath's Ariel was more pointedly optimistic. removing poems like "Barren Woman. she wrote some of the best poems of her career.m. Hughes also acted like a good film editor. grotesque voice that dominates Ariel. chronologically arranged. In her mind. we think. and dismantling some of the narrative scaffolding Plath thought she needed. would "make my name. The effect was to plunge the reader swiftly into the sarcastic.) Hughes then moved up "Poppies in October" and "Berck-Plage" and used them as a springboard into "Ariel. as enterprising readers could piece together when the excised Ariel poems were later published. in Plath's Collected Poems. (For evidence. fussing with it and changing the title from The Rival to A Birthday Present to Daddy to The Rabbit Catcher and finally to Ariel and Other Poems. She stopped working on it in mid-November of 1962. Hers is a powerful narrative on its own²but the final bee poems simply aren't as convincing as the late work that Hughes discovered on her desk. The resulting sequence is more psychologically charged (and dramatic) than Plath's ordering had been." "The Munich Mannequins. some of which had a bleak. included in the restored edition. as does the feminist thrust of passages like "The bees are all women. a luminous vision of self-transformation. still learning how to wean herself from exposition in favor of dramatic immersion. which ended with her famous sequence of bee poems./ Maids and the long royal lady. including "Totem." Hughes' changes did profoundly alter Plath's vision of the book. including "Hanging Man.

"I have been drugged and raped" and describes herself as a "Lever of his wet dreams. fixed stars and dangerous little hooks. their shared preoccupation with mythology." Hughes simply curated the poems as they invited him to curate them. as these critics believe. There is no question that Hughes laid himself open to the accusation that he had self-servingly suppressed lacerating (or. . and images of the self perfected and transformed by its flirtations with death." Most of Plath's best tropes have the benefit of being factually plausible as well as emotionally powerful. authoritative selfknowledge. full of images of stasis and violence. And far from reducing Plath to a pathologized victim²a sick woman²Hughes' version arguably dared to present Plath's raw power as even she did not. Plath was too sensitive a writer and critic not to have been conscious of the resonant layering of imagery she was playing with²all of which is reason to suspect that Ariel and Other Poems was not completely "finished. What's more. their Nietzschean fascination with the interplay between creativity and destructiveness. with a poet's feel for the building implications of the interwoven imagery. the boors. this one doesn't. clumsy stumblers. Understandably. Despite the pair's embittered separation. and lexically similar to poems she'd already added to the Ariel manuscript. But what we don't know is whether Plath herself would have held Ariel and Other Poems to her original vision of it. in its full-fledged. Plath was sharp-eyed and averse to platitudes." in which Plath writes. Plath had apparently shown some of her recent work to Hughes. We do know that Hughes and Plath had a history of reading one another's work. of bleak. dangerous moons standing hooded over a mythic landscape. given that she was an inveterate reviser of her own manuscripts. "personally aggressive") poems about him. like "The Rabbit Catcher" or "The Jailor.got rid of the men. some critics are troubled by the newly morbid arc that results from Hughes' re-engineering. of crackling. and the two had agreed that the freshly written "Totem" and "The Munich Mannequins" were among her strongest poems. They spoke to one another in a kind of harmonic design./ The blunt. were a wellspring for claustrophobic intimacy neither of them ever fully escaped. the poems Plath generated in the weeks before her death were thematically. as he put it. baldly. or even have saved it for a new book." But Ariel is by no means a bowdlerized version of Plath's original² Hughes comes in for plenty of scouring as it is. syntactically. and it's not clear why she would have suppressed the work that was emerging in her final two weeks of life.

either.K. "Ariel. went out of her way to make reference. or didn't like what they saw." the critic A. at full gallop. even as he helped his wife take flight. and most complicated poems. fire and air. Alvarez later told Janet Malcolm. Robert Lowell. Plath's publishers in the U. from a critical perspective. although the poet. It is surely an emotionally complicated task to spend two years carefully reorganizing the work of your dead wife so as to persuade someone to publish a book that will implicate you in her tragic fate. "People didn't understand what they were getting at. to it. to publish the new poems." Ted Hughes. Long before. on whom she weekly went riding. the stirrups fell off. there is something moving about what he did. artistic relationship²and we don't trust Hughes to. hanging around the horse¶s neck. like Samson. "Ariel. And in a strange way." which seems to be a direct reference to the Hebrew or Jewish "Ariel. while she was a student at Cambridge (England). But there is another possible referent in the title of the poem which no one has yet noted. most often criticised. I refer to "Ariel" as the symbolic name for Jerusalem. and she came all the way home to the stables. but the truth is that this Ariel is the author¶s horse. adds these comments. Her horse bolted. But from this distance Plath seems fortunate to have had his input." Plath¶s obsession with Judaism and the Jewish people is clearly indicated in many of her poems. its self-loathing knowingness²was in 1963." the title poem of Sylvia Plath¶s posthumous volume of the same name is one of her most highly regarded. A number of the poems Plath wrote in 1961 and 1962 had been turned down by editors who didn't understand them. And the irony is that. though slightly chilling and androgynous spirit. Plath¶s husband." have often been noticed and pointed out. which has a three fold meaning." She begins the second stanza of the poem with the line "God¶s lioness. its sexual voracity. about two miles. These two allusions. It's easy to forget now how radical Plath's poetry²with its elemental female anger. nor could Hughes convince Knopf. didn't want to publish Ariel. in his forward to Ariel. The ambiguities in the poem begin with its title. says.The real problem with Hughes' interference is that we can't separate the emotional relationship from the intellectual. Hughes did get Plath's poems. to The Tempest and to her horse "Ariel. being placed on the biographical referent. On another biographical or autobiographical level. in reorganizing Ariel to emphasize the ultimate price of Plath's emotional injuries. apparently. To a reader uninformed by Plath¶s biography "Ariel" would probably most immediately call to mind the "airy spirit" who in Shakespeare¶s The Tempest is a servant to Prospero and symbolizes Prospero¶s control of the upper elements of the universe. in the United States." as we know from reports about the poet¶s life. "The title Ariel summons up Shakespeare¶s lovely. she went riding with an American friend out towards Grantchester. even obvious reference. brought down the walls of the temple around him. ARIEL was the name of the horse on which she went riding weekly. with the emphasis. "Ariel" in Hebrew means "lion of God. Hughes. . was the name of her favorite horse.

None of these issues is as significant as the imagistic and thematic developments rendered by the poem itself. With whirlwind and tempest. and each of them merges into the others so that. the sun beginning to rise as Ariel rushes uncontrollably across the countryside. they are all "one. a stripping of personality and selfhood. a journey to death. The sensuousness and concreteness of the poem²the "Black sweet blood mouthfuls" of the berries. Plath perfects her method of leaping from image to image in order to represent mental process." Each of the three "Ariel¶s" contributes its part to the totality of the poem. You will be visited by the Lord of hosts With thunder and with earthquake and great noise.ride taken by its author. then. . and specifically by the break in the rhyme scheme." In Isaiah 29-5-6 we read. She even seems to imply this when she says.Indeed. Each of the details she mentions with respect to the ride (at least through the first six stanzas) can be seen as exact reporting of what it is like to ride a horse. . by the end of the poem. She hears her own cry as if it were that of a child and flies toward the burning sun that has now risen. . of these three references to "Ariel. . "How one we grow. and taste the process of disintegration: the horse emerging from the darkness of the morning. And the flame of a devouring fire In short." the two that seem most fruitful in terms of an analysis of the poem appear to be the autobiographical and the Biblical In terms of the autobiographical overtones. the poet seems to be combining these three references to "Ariel" in her poem. in the author's psychological problems. touch. We see. And in an instant. the poem can be seen as what apparently it is in fact²an account of the poet¶s going for a ride on her favorite horse. some of the imagery which informs the passage concerning "Ariel" in the Book of Isaiah appears to have been drawn on directly by Plath for her imagery in her poem "Ariel." Now. suddenly. A poem like "Ariel" possesses power and importance to the degree to which the horseback ride Plath once took becomes something more²a ride into the eye of the sun. in the second stanza. To treat "Ariel" as a confessional poem is to suggest that its actual importance lies in the horse. . The last five stanzas of the poem obviously move beyond the literal telling of taking a horseback ride and move into something which partakes of the mystery whereby the rider experiences something of the unity which is created between horse and rider. if not literally. "Ariel" is probably Plath's finest single construction because of the precision and depth of its images. at least metaphorically. Then all the rider's perceptions are thrown together: the horse's body and the rider's merge. or in its position within the biographical development of the author. the rider trying to catch the brown neck but instead "tasting" the blackberries on the side of the road. the "glitter of seas"²is unmatched in contemporary American poetry. This change in the theme of the poem is signaled both by a change in tone and by a change in technique. hear. . . and creating a context where each of the possible meanings enriches the others. In its account of the ritual journey toward the center of life and death.

I can be a feminist. after all. Or rather. but still dislike individual women. even as we love them. And that all-important fixed on smile. "Eavesdropper"). But. But I don¶t thFRRGRGGk even Sylvia Plath would have wished to be a kind of Doris Day woman.com tal and stunning as anything yoAnu¶d get in a jewel case from HM¶s pointless to try to mould Plath into a feminist.yahoo. On the "subject" of women she was often loaded with spite and mockery ("Face Lift". We¶re not all of a piece. what she did was to give me the courage to sskfjrgjgkjtgjktgjkjgtkjtgjkgkjkjgtbe a feminist and still be vindictive. "The ApplicLLLLLRFRFRFLGLGLGLGLant" has a go at the . of course. www.com www.google.bing. for me. Many of Plath¶s poems are certainly not in the voice of Mrs Mop with a can of Mr Sheen. We can even hate our mothers. in broad terms.Bibliography www. jealous«I don¶t believe that even a committed feminist has to love the concept of "wimmin" and womanhood wholesale. all swirly skirts and cookie production.com Poetry of Sylvia Plath(Book).

along with anything that smacks of the deathwish) are often about metaphorical deaths ± and a death which leads to a rebirth or a renewal: "I rise with my red hair/And I eat men like air". the tone of many of her poems is one of revenge and aggression. this hypnotic poem is like a sinister. I think. Plath may have rejected feminism. in which the little woman is simply "it" ± "A living doll«". twisted nursery rhyme. But. even as we love them. of course. I can be a feminist. Her poems flow like sparkling rain ± slangy. It¶s pointless to try to mould Plath into a feminist. Many of Plath¶s poems are certainly not in the voice of Mrs Mop with a can of Mr Sheen. AAA Gender apart. Back to the rightly famous "Daddy" ± with its repeated "oo" sound. or a poem like "Gigolo". snappy ± and are not hidebound by the constraints of academia and what is deemed acceptable poetry by the pundits of the day. stripped of the biography. that makes her appeal to young people. But I don¶t think even Sylvia Plath would have wished to be a kind of Doris Day woman. all swirly skirts and cookie production. as vital and stunning as anything you¶d get in a jewel case from HMV. Plath may . in which the little woman is simply "it" ± "A living doll«". And that all-important fixed on smile. "Eavesdropper"). On the "subject" of women she was often loaded with spite and mockery ("Face Lift". but it¶s still possible to say that she wrote feminist poems. even qualities.wLLGTHHhole concept of the conventional marriage. over-academic. her work remains relevant ± to both genders. after all. It¶s for these reasons. what she did was to give me the courage to be a feminist and still be vindictive. "The Applicant" has a go at the whole concept of the conventional marriage. We can even hate our mothers. for me. but I think it¶s worth at least attempting to read the poems as they stand. It¶s perhaps impossible to separate the poetry from what we imagine to be the woman. We¶re not all of a piece. jealous«I don¶t believe that even a committed feminist has to love the concept of "wimmin" and womanhood wholesale. Take a line such as "A man in black with a Meinkampf look" ("Daddy"). a servant to her husband. I think it¶s all too easy to get bogged down in the Plath Myth and all the attendant theorising. The poems have a toughness. a servant to her husband. but still dislike individual women. rather than submission and subservience. Read it simply as remarkable poetry written by a poet who went straight for the heart: "And I/Am the arrow". as much as her subject matter. Even mMMushroom the poems ostensibly about death (and derided. e younger poets currently writing sound old-fashioned and straight-jacketed. This is rock n roll. Or rather. Overwordy. either way. in broad terms.

as vital and stunning as anything you¶d get in a jewel case from HMV. The poems have a toughness. jealous«I don¶t believe that even a committed feminist has to love the concept of "wimmin" and womanhood wholesale. I can be a feminist. of course. this hypnotic poem is like a sinister. over-academic. either way. We¶re not all of a piece. the tone of many of her poems is one of revenge and aggression. I think it¶s all too easy to get bogged down in the Plath Myth and all the attendant theorising. The poems have a toughness. kes many of the younger poets currently writing sound old-fashioned and straightjacketed. rather than submission and subservience. in which the little woman is simply "it" ± "A living doll«". I think it¶s all too easy to get bogged down in the Plath Myth and all the attendant . after all. Take a line such as "A man in black with a Meinkampf look" ("Daddy"). And that all-important fixed on smile. It¶s for these reasons. This is rock n roll. Gender apart. Her poems flow like sparkling rain ± slangy. but I think it¶s worth at least attempting to read the poems as they stand. in broad terms. Plath may have rejected feminism. that makes her appeal to young people. for me. but still dislike individual women. But I don¶t think even Sylvia Plath would have wished to be a kind of Doris Day woman. her work remains relevant ± to both genders. as much as her subject matter. Back to the rightly famous "Daddy" ± with its repeated "oo" sound. "The Applicant" has a go at the whole concept of the conventional marriage. It¶s pointless to try to mould Plath into a feminist. stripped of the biography.have rejected feminism. along with anything that smacks of the deathwish) are often about metaphorical deaths ± and a death which leads to a rebirth or a renewal: "I rise with my red hair/And I eat men like air". But. all swirly skirts and cookie production. even (dare I say it?) masculine qualities. the tone of many of her poems is one of revenge and aggression. Even the poems ostensibly about death (and derided. "Eavesdropper"). even as we love them. It¶s perhaps impossible to separate the poetry from what we imagine to be the woman. rather than submission and subservience. Or rather. I think. On the "subject" of women she was often loaded with spite and mockery ("Face Lift". Many of Plath¶s poems are certainly not in the voice of Mrs Mop with a can of Mr Sheen. Gender apart. Read it simply as remarkable poetry written by a poet who went straight for the heart: "And I/Am the arrow". but it¶s still possible to say that she wrote feminist poems. We can even hate our mothers. or a poem like "Gigolo". Even the poems ostensibly about death (and derided. even (dare I say it?) masculine qualities. snappy ± and are not hidebound by the constraints of academia and what is deemed acceptable poetry by the pundits of the day. along with anything that smacks of the deathwish) are often about metaphorical deaths ± and a death which leads to a rebirth or a renewal: "I rise with my red hair/And I eat men like air". but it¶s still possible to say that she wrote feminist poems. what she did was to give me the courage to be a feminist and still be vindictive. a servant to her husband. twisted nursery rhyme. either way. Over-wordy. her work remains relevant ± to both genders.

Even the poems ostensibly about death (and derided. But. Gender apart. even (dare I say it?) masculine qualities. It¶s perhaps impossible to separate the poetry from what we imagine to be the woman. that makes her appeal to young people. Or rather. after all. this hypnotic poem is like a sinister. I can be a feminist. . "Eavesdropper"). I think. snappy ± and are not hidebound by the constraints of academia and what is deemed acceptable poetry by the pundits of the day. but I think it¶s worth at least attempting to read the poems as they stand. over-academic. This is rock n roll. rather than submission and subservience. as vital and stunning as anything you¶d get in a jewel case from HMV. Back to the rightly famous "Daddy" ± with its repeated "oo" sound. It¶s for these reasons. of course. or a poem like "Gigolo". Take a line such as "A man in black with a Meinkampf look" ("Daddy"). but I think it¶s worth at least attempting to read the poems as they stand. even as we love them. Many of Plath¶s poems are certainly not in the voice of Mrs Mop with a can of Mr Sheen. We can even hate our mothers. It¶s pointless to try to mould Plath into a feminist. either way. Her poems flow like sparkling rain ± slangy. what she did was to give me the courage to be a feminist and still be vindictive. jealous«I don¶t believe that even a committed feminist has to love the concept of "wimmin" and womanhood wholesale. twisted nursery rhyme. On the "subject" of women she was often loaded with spite and mockery ("Face Lift". her work remains relevant ± to both genders. Over-wordy. And that all-important fixed on smile. Plath may have rejected feminism. But I don¶t think even Sylvia Plath would have wished to be a kind of Doris Day woman. all swirly skirts and cookie production. We¶re not all of a piece. for me. in which the little woman is simply "it" ± "A living doll«". but still dislike individual women. but it¶s still possible to say that she wrote feminist poems. I think it¶s all too easy to get bogged down in the Plath Myth and all the attendant theorising. as much as her subject matter. along with anything that smacks of the deathwish) are often about metaphorical deaths ± and a death which leads to a rebirth or a renewal: "I rise with my red hair/And I eat men like air". Read it simply as remarkable poetry written by a poet who went straight for the heart: "And I/Am the arrow". stripped of the biography. It¶s perhaps impossible to separate the poetry from what we imagine to be the woman. a servant to her husband. the tone of many of her poems is one of revenge and aggression. in broad terms. "The Applicant" has a go at the whole concept of the conventional marriage. What also stuns me about Plath is that her work still sounds completely contemporary and makes many of the younger poets currently writing sound old-fashioned and straight-jacketed.theorising. The poems have a toughness.

It¶s for these reasons. Her poems flow like sparkling rain ± slangy. Or rather. along with anything that smacks of the deathwish) are often about metaphorical deaths ± and a death which leads to a rebirth or a renewal: "I rise with my red hair/And I eat men like air". I think. On the "subject" of women she was often loaded with spite and mockery ("Face Lift". this hypnotic poem is like a sinister. either way. snappy ± and are not hidebound by the constraints of academia and what is deemed acceptable poetry by the pundits of the day. over-academic. snappy ± and are not hidebound by the constraints of academia and what is deemed acceptable poetry by the pundits of the day. a servant to her husband. even (dare I say it?) masculine qualities. that makes her . I can be a feminist. "The Applicant" has a go at the whole concept of the conventional marriage. We¶re not all of a piece. Over-wordy. I think. that makes her appeal to young people. even as we love them. for me. I think it¶s all too easy to get bogged down in the Plath Myth and all the attendant theorising. as vital and stunning as anything you¶d get in a jewel case from HMV. "Eavesdropper"). What also stuns me about Plath is that her work still sounds completely contemporary and makes many of the younger poets currently writing sound old-fashioned and straight-jacketed. It¶s pointless to try to mould Plath into a feminist. what she did was to give me the courage to be a feminist and still be vindictive. The poems have a toughness. This is rock n roll. but still dislike individual women. or a poem like "Gigolo".stripped of the biography. Gender apart. of course. after all. jealous«I don¶t believe that even a committed feminist has to love the concept of "wimmin" and womanhood wholesale. but it¶s still possible to say that she wrote feminist poems. in broad terms. We can even hate our mothers. Read it simply as remarkable poetry written by a poet who went straight for the heart: "And I/Am the arrow". It¶s for these reasons. twisted nursery rhyme. Plath may have rejected feminism. But I don¶t think even Sylvia Plath would have wished to be a kind of Doris Day woman. in which the little woman is simply "it" ± "A living doll«". Her poems flow like sparkling rain ± slangy. Back to the rightly famous "Daddy" ± with its repeated "oo" sound. And that all-important fixed on smile. over-academic. Many of Plath¶s poems are certainly not in the voice of Mrs Mop with a can of Mr Sheen. as much as her subject matter. Take a line such as "A man in black with a Meinkampf look" ("Daddy"). as much as her subject matter. all swirly skirts and cookie production. Over-wordy. But. Take a line such as "A man in black with a Meinkampf look" ("Daddy"). or a poem like "Gigolo". rather than submission and subservience. her work remains relevant ± to both genders. Even the poems ostensibly about death (and derided. It¶s perhaps impossible to separate tWhat also stuns me about Plath is that her work still sounds completely contemporary and makes many of the younger poets currently writing sound old-fashioned and straight-jacketed. the tone of many of her poems is one of revenge and aggression.

"The Applicant" has a go at the whole concept of the conventional marriage. her work remains relevant ± to both genders. but it¶s still possible to say that she wrote feminist poems. for me. We¶re not all of a piece. the tone of many of her poems is one of revenge and aggression. We can even hate our mothers. rather than submission and subservience. Back to the rightly famous "Daddy" ± with its repeated "oo" sound. But. What also stuns me about Plath is that her work still sounds completely contemporary and makes many of the younger poets currently writing sound old-fashioned and straight-jacketed. I think it¶s all too easy to get bogged down in the Plath Myth and all the attendant theorising. Plath may have rejected feminism. Read it simply as remarkable poetry written by a poet who went straight for the heart: "And I/Am the arrow". But I don¶t think even Sylvia Plath would have wished to be a kind of Doris Day woman. Gender apart. "Eavesdropper"). in broad terms. of course. in which the little woman is simply "it" ± "A living doll«". after all. either way. Read it simply as remarkable poetry written by a poet who went straight for the heart: "And I/Am the arrow". a servant to her husband. I can be a feminist. but I think it¶s worth at least attempting to read the poems as they stand. but still dislike individual women. he poetry from what we imagine to be the woman. along with anything that smacks of the deathwish) are often about metaphorical deaths ± and a death which leads to a rebirth or a renewal: "I rise with my red hair/And I eat men like air". On the "subject" of women she was often loaded with spite and mockery ("Face Lift". It¶s perhaps impossible to separate the poetry from what we imagine to be the woman. Many of Plath¶s poems are certainly not in the voice of Mrs Mop with a can of Mr Sheen. over-academic. Even the poems ostensibly about death (and derided. Take a line such as "A man in black with . And that all-important fixed on smile. all swirly skirts and cookie production. as vital and stunning as anything you¶d get in a jewel case from HMV. twisted nursery rhyme. but I think it¶s worth at least attempting to read the poems as they stand. what she did was to give me the courage to be a feminist and still be vindictive. stripped of the biography. even (dare I say it?) masculine qualities. jealous«I don¶t believe that even a committed feminist has to love the concept of "wimmin" and womanhood wholesale. It¶s pointless to try to mould Plath into a feminist. Or rather. this hypnotic poem is like a sinister. stripped of the biography. This is rock n roll. The poems have a toughness. even as we love them.appeal to young people. Over-wordy.

Read it simply as remarkable poetry written by a poet who went straight for the heart: "And I/Am the arrow". even (dare I say it?) masculine qualities. this hypnotic poem is like a sinister. but I think it¶s worth at least attempting to read the poems as they stand. I can be a feminist. Her poems flow like sparkling rain ± slangy. I think. The poems have a toughness. And that all-important fixed on smile. either way. jealous«I don¶t believe that even a committed feminist has to love the concept of "wimmin" and womanhood wholesale. that makes her appeal to young people. . or a poem like "Gigolo".a Meinkampf look" ("Daddy"). twisted nursery rhyme. This is rock n roll. "The Applicant" has a go at the whole concept of the conventional marriage. Gender apart. a servant to her husband. after all. It¶s perhaps impossible to separate the poetry from what we imagine to be the woman. Or rather. as vital and stunning as anything you¶d get in a jewel case from HMV. On the "subject" of women she was often loaded with spite and mockery ("Face Lift". We¶re not all of a piece. Many of Plath¶s poems are certainly not in the voice of Mrs Mop with a can of Mr Sheen. but still dislike individual women. It¶s for these reasons. as much as her subject matter. stripped of the biography. in broad terms. We can even hate our mothers. in which the little woman is simply "it" ± "A living doll«". for me. Back to the rightly famous "Daddy" ± with its repeated "oo" sound. but it¶s still possible to say that she wrote feminist poems. her work remains relevant ± to both genders. of course. snappy ± and are not hidebound by the constraints of academia and what is deemed acceptable poetry by the pundits of the day. along with anything that smacks of the deathwish) are often about metaphorical deaths ± and a death which leads to a rebirth or a renewal: "I rise with my red hair/And I eat men like air". I think it¶s all too easy to get bogged down in the Plath Myth and all the attendant theorising. the tone of many of her poems is one of revenge and aggression. But. all swirly skirts and cookie production. Plath may have rejected feminism. But I don¶t think even Sylvia Plath would have wished to be a kind of Doris Day woman. Even the poems ostensibly about death (and derided. what she did was to give me the courage to be a feminist and still be vindictive. It¶s pointless to try to mould Plath into a feminist. "Eavesdropper"). even as we love them. rather than submission and subservience.