“Lady Lazarus”

Sylvia Plath

One year in every ten I manage it---- The speaker has attempted suicide again.I have done it again. . The “one year in every ten” makes the attempt sound like a cyclical event.

Peel off the napkin 0 my enemy. Is she happy about the fact that soon she will be dead? . The speaker sees herself like a holocaust victim (but I wouldn’t say “as” a holocaust victim. soon the flesh The grave cave ate will be At home on me And I a smiling woman. Soon. my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade. the eye pits. fine Jew linen. My right foot A paperweight. the full set of teeth? The sour breath Will vanish in a day.A sort of walking miracle. Do I terrify?---The nose. My face a featureless.

What does it mean to annihilate each decade of your life? . And like the cat I have nine times to die. This is Number Three. What a million filaments.I am only thirty. What a trash To annihilate each decade.

Like a mummy . Gentlemen.The peanut-crunching crowd Shoves in to see Them unwrap me hand and foot The big strip tease. Nevertheless. identical woman. . . In her resurrection she becomes the object of a voyeuristic crowd – and her word choice suggests that she doesn’t like it. I am the same. ladies These are my hands My knees. I may be skin and bone. as she does rising from the ash at the end of the poem. She has not changed. .

The history of her dying(s) The first time it happened I was ten. . I rocked shut As a seashell. What is she trying to do? Shut herself up to shut out the world? Maybe some speculation on why anyone would want to shut themselves up like a seashell. It was an accident. The second time I meant To last it out and not come back at all. Look at this image of rocking shut as a seashell. They had to call and call And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Dying Is an art. I guess you could say I've a call. To have a calling to some vocation usually has positive connotations – but to have a calling for death. I do it so it feels real. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. like everything else. How might dying be an art? How might everything else be an art? (That’s a pretty bold statement – what arts might the speaker not do exceptionally well?) If she’s good at dying because she does it so it feels real. then we can deduce that living might not feel “real” to her. what impressions do you get from this line? . The word “dying” is set off on its own line.

to have a “comeback” (note the theatrical language).It's easy enough to do it in a cell. It is painful to her.” The easy part is to attempt to die. . I think she hates it most of all. the same brute Amused shout: 'A miracle!‘ That knocks me out. the same face. It's easy enough to do it and stay put. Some critics think that the speaker likes the attention of the resurrection. that which “knocks her out. the hard part is to wake up theatrically. It's the theatrical Comeback in broad day To the same place. but I disagree. it is that which she cant tolerate.

There is a charge For the eyeing of my scars. Replace the word charge (which applies to the spectator) with the word cost (which would apply to the speaker). Her resurrection isn’t free for the spectator’s amusement. And there is a charge. a very large charge For a word or a touch Or a bit of blood Or a piece of my hair or my clothes. What does it cost her for her scars to be seen. for the beating of her heart to be heard? . there is a charge For the hearing of my heart---It really goes.

. Who is she addressing when she says “I am your opus”? (Opus means work. so. Do not think I underestimate your great concern. I am your opus. questions. Herr Doktor. So. Herr Enemy. maintaining the Nazi imagery from the beginning of the poem. because he brings her back to life? Notice that she uses German here.So. The pure gold baby That melts to a shriek.) Is she the product of the doctors and what they represent? Could a doctor also treat for mental illness? Is there any irony in the last line here? Might the doctors’ great concern not be the speaker’s own best interest? Questions. I have only questions for this part of the poem! Is the doctor her enemy. Those who would keep her alive are her tormentors. I turn and burn. and more questions . . . I am your valuable.

Ash. A wedding ring. Herr Lucifer Beware Beware. ash --You poke and stir. There is more than one kind of resurrection. Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And I eat men like air. there is nothing there---A cake of soap. They won’t find anything of her left. bone. A gold filling. Same address must mean some connection to “Herr Doktor/Herr Enemy” – two versions of the same thing. When she does succeed in doing it and not coming back at all . Flesh. The flesh can be revived. one for the living and one for the dead? I’m really at a loss. which is what has happened three times now. Herr God. but the “spirit” can be revived as well (or whatever that red-headed part of her is that eats men like air [breathing?]) . . .

from her dislike of the crowds and doctors who watch her resurrection. Depression can be as debilitating as any trauma. Do we find ourselves having compassion with this speaker? Sylvia Plath . Perhaps her pain doesn’t have any external causes. and for whom life is painful as a concentration camp. She becomes nothing more than an object to them. Does it matter what causes this speaker so much pain? We can guess a little.What to make of this poem? A speaker (we presume a woman) who longs for death. perhaps.