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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 1540 words

Critical Commentary on The Arrival of the Bee Box written by Sylvia Plath.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Stephanie Duarte 13D Critical Commentary on The Arrival of the Bee Box The arrival of the Bee Box, is a poem written by Sylvia Plath where she the extended metaphor of a bee box to reflect her state of mind and her appearance. We can see that throughout the poem she does not feel at peace with herself. Her inner turmoil, illustrated by the bees, contrasts with what she shows herself to be, the box. However, to reveal her real feelings and thoughts, and to therefore open the box, means that there is a possibility of attack by its contents, a warning she seems anxious to ignore. We are immediately introduced to the bee box in the first stanza of the poem. She takes responsibility for the presence of the box as she says that "I ordered this". If we take this bee box to be her appearance, we can see how she has made a conscious effort to hide what she is really feeling. To demonstrate the unequivocal reality of the box she describes it is as being "square as a chair and almost too heavy to lift".

Middle

In contrast to the previous stanza where she focused mainly on what she could see, in this stanza she starts to focus on what she can hear. The "noise" appalls" her for they are "unintelligible syllables". This again suggests that she does like this constant torment in her head specially since she cannot understand it. It is illustrated very well as the buzzing of bees usually annoys people and we cannot understand it. She then compares her situation to a "Roman mob". The bees are "small, taken one by one" but however they are always found "together". This is like the conflicts in her mind. They are not of great importance when looked at individually, but when looked at "together", they create great confusion which causes her to stop making sense out of them. In continuation from stanza four, stanza five starts by saying that she "lay [her] ear to furious Latin". This again implies that she cannot understand what is inside the box, or in other words, her mind. The word "furious" suggests once again that the bees, or her thoughts, are agitated and longing to come out but that at the same time they are dangerous.

Conclusion

This point is conveyed through the verbal play on "honey" and "sweet". Ironically, by being "sweet" and by thus setting them free, she will be like "honey" which is what the bees are after. The last line of the poem is isolated from the rest of it. This brings great emphasis of this line. It states that "the box is only temporary". This is like a conclusion to the poem and to the great dilemmas which have taken place through it. The speaker has finally made a decision and asserts that she will release the bees, or in other words, reveal her feelings and the content will exceed the form. All in all, this is a very complex poem which allows us to have great insight into the poet's personal life. We can see how she feels bound to lose whether she chooses to open the been box, and to thus release her emotions, or whether she chooses to keep it closed, and to therefore never be able to be her real self. She takes us through a series of reasoning steps and eventually lead us to her conclusion. This conclusion however is only reached at the very end of the poem and thus keeps us in suspense all the way through.

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