Sylvia Plath s Two Sisters of Persephone is arguably a poem with several levels.

On the surface it may be a duality between two sister s with very contrasting personalities. Yet, a little more analysis may reveal a mythical allegory in which the Godess of the Underworld, Persephone, shares contrasting aspect of her lives; or it may also represent a deeper observation on female identity in the author s era. From the very beginning the poem providesa symbolic presence with the mention of Persephone , the Goddess of the Underworld, mentioned in the title. This mythical character gives a deeper meaning to the poem as Persephone becomes a symbol of the cycle of life taking us back and forth from her underworld, to life on earth. Perhaps more importantly though, the title of the poem reveals two separate instances; as it consists of the words The Two Sisters . This separation is also emphasized in the punctuation of the poem. The use of inconsistent punctuation with colons and semi-colons that break up the structure and take us from one duality to the next, create a transition between the two described instances. This transition is also enhanced through the use of enjambment. The enjambment of the poem is essential in the understanding of the piece. This is because it forces the reader to finish one stanza and continue straight on the next one, in which he will find the continuation of the sentence broken up between the two stanzas. This suggests that the dualities present in the poem may actually be part of one individual. It is as if the author is trying to portray the two sides of a personality. This idea of dual personalities is emphasized further in the structure of the poem. The poem consists of seven four-line stanzas which each contain full stops and commas placed differently within each stanza; symbolizing the possibility of having contrasting elements within one individual. Following this, we can consider the figurative language of the poem, used to convey double meanings through references to elements like nature and colour. In lines 1 and 2 for example, Plath introduces the idea that one of the girls is within the house whilst the other is without . They are a duet of shade and light ; the first sees dry ticks mark time whilst the second hears ticks blown gold . Introducing the contrast between dark and light sensation make it clear that not only are these sisters very different, but one may also be better than the other. Although this may not necessarily be the most significant aspect of contrasting imageries, it is important to note that the idea of black and white has clear connotations of Bad versus Good . This imagery is pursued throughout the rest of the poem, as the first sister is described as barren and root-pale whilst the second is the sun s bride and bronzed as earth . One way in which Plath creates double meaning with this use of contrasting imagery, is when she speaks of ticks for example. The first sister is dryly observing time slowly tick by, whilst the second sees them amongst the flowers, gold. The same object is used, but the various adjectives and surrounding features like the poppies, give it an either positive or negative twist.

which can be interpreted either way. The contrasting imageries that have been used and that bare certain connotations to a reader. suggests that no matter which sister. the idea of a good passionate and free side. It may seem more logical that it is the other (the first) sister who is sallow. however the turned bitter and sallow could also be referring to the second sister who just bore a king. the dualities put forth by the author are also ones which are stereotypically relatable to the emotions of women in general. the sentence turned bitter and sallow as any lemon. the society. On top of this cynicism. Worm-husbanded. which side of a personality or which world the Goddess may be living in. As a result of structure. another internal conflict is present within the poem.cynical and bitter. tone and imagery. Plath is saying that to society. yet no woman.Furthermore. the sister has been a waste as she has not had any children and all she has managed to marry are the worms in the ground as her body is presumably buried. followed by contradicting aspects of a personality and eventually she has depicted overall female identity in society. versus a more controlled. On a first level. Plath has successfully brought into her work manifestations of female identity. it will always end in death. wry virgin to the last. Goes graveward with flesh laid waste. nature. the end may always be death. may be expressing the presence of female identity and how it is perceived. Despite these consecutive anti-thesis though which present both the concept of female identity and the duality of opposites. This introduces the first and only point of view from society in the poem. negative and cold side. The other goes graveyard could be talking about either of the sisters fates. This ambiguous transition. through the final comments on the first sister. Repetitive descriptions of opposites set a certain pessimistic mood as there is an illusion of constant argument or fighting. colour and fertility. . Here. Neither the vibrant bronzed sister nor the barren virgin sister dominate in the poem and the definite fate of the sisters is uncertain. the tone of the poem is added to. from the Root pale meager frame to the bronzed sun s bride for example. and it is definitely her who is bound for death. The frequent and repetitive shifts from somber darkness to colour and brightness . By once again using enjambment and bizarre punctuation from the 6 th stanza to the last. she has developed the myth of the lives of a Goddess. the tone of the poem is always the same. clash with this final idea that says no matter what. The lines read The other.