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This poem is a compilation of Sylvia Plath's innermost feelings of the time. "Spinster" was written in the same year the poet married.

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Introduction

This poem is a compilation of Sylvia Plath's innermost feelings of the time. "Spinster" was written in the same year the poet married. A spinster, by definition, is a woman past the usual marrying age or considered unlikely to marry because she lacks the qualities men desire in their partners. One could characterize a spinster as an 'old maid', a woman doomed to loneliness by chance and prejudices. The girl who is the focus and protagonist of Sylvia Plath's "Spinster" is not given to expressions of joy and mirth, nor to enjoying nature during the blossoming season that the poem is set in. We can see that in fact, "this particular girl" (1) appreciates nothing about the aspects of the world commonly associated with life and happiness. This "particular girl" is not undesirable, by society's quintessential standards as she is not sinfully ugly, however she does isolate herself by shunning the norms and expectations of a societal courtship. She does express displeasure with the onerous enthusiasms of spring and her company. In reality, she longs for the dignity and cold order that comes from winter and solitude. Love in essence is effervescent, never stagnant and can never be controlled. Therefore, the romantic bond between the spinster and her suitor could never materialize. We have noticed that throughout "Spinster", Sylvia Plath chooses the speaker's words carefully, with poignancy in its placing. ...read more.

Middle

The budding flowers, so often evoked by poets as paragons of beauty and new life, are condemned by the girl for "she judged their petals in disarray" (11). She appreciates nothing else of the blooming life around her either, calling it "a burgeoning / Unruly enough to pitch her five queenly wits / Into vulgar motley" (19-21). To the girl, spring is nothing but a rebellious uprising against her senses. In all, she finds the springtime an entirely unsatisfactory environment, judging "The whole season, sloven" (12). The girl can find no satisfaction in the spring, and withdraws from it entirely, finally banishing it with queen-like authority to the realm of simpletons. The suitor's frolicking attempts at winning her affections are subject to the same cold, detached judgments, for to her, his dances are "gestures" that "imbalance the air" (8). His gaiety is to her, merely foolishness, and has no place in her world. In addition to the disarray of nature, she sees all these aspects and characteristics mirrored in her suitor. As critic John M. Gambert said "All of the suitor's - and the rest of the world's - efforts at wooing the girl with mirth and beauty fail, and only affirm his position as the object of her indifference." We see that instead of the delights that romance and life in general have to offer, the girl in "Spinster" chooses to focus and glorify the structured and emotionless tranquility of the winter months and a life lived alone. ...read more.

Conclusion

The first line does establish a somewhat regular rhythm, but it then goes on to be abandoned for another in the second line, and then is completely lost in the last two. The last line is especially cacophonous, (harsh-sounding) requiring two distinct pauses at the commas. The "rank wilderness" (10) a difficult line to say mirrors the difficulty of the girl to enjoy the spring. These patterns of off-rhyme and difficult mish-mashed meters prevail wherever the speaker is elaborating on the disorganized nature of spring, lending rhythmic credence to the girl's viewpoint. By lending an attentive ear to these acoustical aspects of the poem, the speaker supplements the abstract meanings of the words with their physical realities. This amalgamation of diction, rhythm, and rhyme unifies the poem in its objective to present the speaker's perception that the only tolerable life is a wintry and solitary one. In summation, just by looking at the poem, one can see the true spinster that lies embedded within this woman by just simply examining the words that she associates with love. And it is within these last three stanzas in the poem, one can see the true nature of what life this woman is destined to live; one of spinsterhood. We, the reader, are left with the statement: "As no mere insurgent man could hope to break, with curse, fist, threat or love, either." 02-May-07 Page 3 of 3 ...read more.

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