Critical appreciation of the poem "Old Ladies' Home" by Sylvia Plath with reference to the presentation of old age
Dealing with old age and loneliness can be both complicated and perplexing. Sylvia Plath shows us this through her poem "Old Ladies' Home, where she shares her views on the harsh reality of growing into old age and awaiting death alone. In this poem, the omniscient speaker employs a detached tone to describe the old ladies in the home as fragile, lifeless and neglected. The poem takes place in a home for aged women, as can be inferred from the title of the poem and contains several images and metaphors that bring out the poem's main theme of death. Several symbols are used to represent death in this poem. A few such examples would be "black fabric", "ghosts" and "coffins". These symbols present death as dull and eerie, rather than as the celebration of a life well lived, hence building a sombre and gloomy atmosphere in the poem. This in turn reflects the old ladies' melancholic state as they await their death in the home. Death, for these old women, is also presented as being unpredictable and as an issue that lingers in their mind every night. For example, the last stanza of the poem says, "And Death, that bald-head buzzard, / Stalls in halls where the lamp wick/ Shortens with each breath drawn." Metaphor is used here to compare death to the buzzard which is a scavenging bird, similar to the vulture. Death is described as something that lurks within the home, waiting for
A commentary of "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath "Daddy", one of Plaths most famous and detailed autobiographical poems, was written in the last years of her life and is saturated with suppressed anger and dark imagery. The sixteen stanza poem, through Plaths use of ambiguous symbolism, arguably is bitterly addressing Plaths father, who died when she was only eight, and her husband Ted Hughes, who had broken her "pretty red heart in two" (st.12, line 1). The poem is intense with once suppressed emotion, setting an aggressive, desperate, almost psychic tone and is highly concentrated on the theme of death. With Plath's application of various techniques including diction, imagery, enjambment, contrast, repetition and oxymoron, the poem comes across as shocking with the intensity of feeling and the passionate sadness that highlight the suicidal messages conveyed. As is pointed out, the context of the poem "Daddy" is that of Plath's husband's affair with another woman. Grieved to the point of psychotic anger Plath's use of imagery throughout the piece accentuates the hopeless despair of the speaker at the conflicting male relationships in Plath's life: first her father and then husband. "Any more, black shoe In which I have lived like a foot..." The metaphor of 'black shoe' possibly used to denote a person, suggests a stifling image. The speaker claims to have lived in that shoe,
Analyse the poem "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath The title "Daddy" evokes images of nurturing fathers, willing to do anything for their children; it suggests innocence and protection. Plath could be using this in a number of different ways. It may be ironic - she uses this word to describe her father because he should have been a model for her, and he was the precise opposite of her ideals. It also suggests a longing for her father to have been this model. It may relate to the feminist issues at the time Plath wrote "Daddy" - fathers were all believed to be a perfect model for society, and women and daughters who were victims of them were mostly ignored. The repetition of "you do not do" gives the persona an assertive edge; she is standing up to her father. It also makes her sound a little immature, as though she has to express herself in this way. Indeed, the syntax throughout the poem is stilted, with little complicated vocabulary, giving the persona a childlike quality. Plath writes that she "lived like a foot" in the "shoe" of her father. It implies that her father, as the "shoe", surrounded her. It could suggest that she could not escape him, and she "wore" him - he was a burden to her. She also writes that in her father's presence, she is "barely daring to breath" - she is terrified of him. This ties in with the shoe point made earlier - her father seems a tyrant, overbearing
Spinster- A Commentary Spinster is a poem which juxtaposes the order and disorder of the seasons and how exactly this affects the persona's desperation to keep control. The title 'Spinster' implies that the persona has a chosen a life without men, which also implies that she wants full control over her life. Stanza one begins very formally, 'During a ceremonious April walk/ With her latest suitor'. Lexis such as 'ceremonious' and 'suitor' creates a very formal atmosphere, therefore creating more structure, which is also implied by the use of the word 'suitor', which suggests very little or no feeling towards him. The stanza continues to imply that the woman can hardly stand disorder, 'intolerably struck/ By the birds irregular babel/ And the leaves litter'. The poet uses alliteration and positive alliteration to suggest that the woman can not handle disorder with words such as 'irregular' and 'litter'. Then, in stanza two, Plath stays detached from the poem, and the whole stanza implies disorder. 'Observed' suggests that the woman in the poem was watching from a distance, and therefore the writing is very detached and as if a step has been taken back in order to see things as a whole. Also, the whole stanza implies disorder with lexis such as 'unbalanced', 'uneven', 'wilderness' and 'disarray', all of which suggest disarray and no order. Almost all of these words are
Present the way in which imprisonment is presented in 'The Bell Jar' The bell jar is an inverted glass jar, generally used to display an object of scientific curiosity
Present the way in which imprisonment is presented in 'The Bell Jar' The bell jar is an inverted glass jar, generally used to display an object of scientific curiosity, contain a certain kind of gas, or maintain a vacuum. For Esther, the bell jar symbolizes madness. When gripped by insanity, she feels as if she is inside an airless jar that distorts her perspective on the world and prevents her from connecting with the people around her. At the end of the novel, the bell jar has lifted, but she can sense that it still hovers over her, waiting to drop at any moment. The narrative technique used in The Bell Jar is a first person narrative. Straight away we get the idea of imprisonment through elements of the unhappy narrative voice in the early chapters. The first sentence of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar alerts the reader to the conflicts that will be dealt with in this semi-autobiographical novel: "It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenberg's, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York." The speaker will tell us in the next few sentences that she is "stupid" and that she feels "sick," and that she is preoccupied with death. Like Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye, this young, college age, girl-woman is experiencing an adolescent crisis. When Esther Greenwood tells us in the first sentence that this is "the summer they electrocuted the
The poem Jilted, written by Sylvia Plath, has its subject based on the disappointment of love which resulted from a female being neglected by her male lover,
Jilted-Sylvia Plath: Analysis on Craftsmanship The poem "Jilted", written by Sylvia Plath, has its subject based on the disappointment of love which resulted from a female being neglected by her male lover, who probably must have gone off in pursuit of another female. This poem has a simple abab rhyme scheme. The words of this poem were expertly chosen to describe the sour and acidic feelings that accompany betrayal and abandonment. Overall, it is obvious that the tone of this poem is sour and caustic. The title "jilted" is a word that has harsh sound which already hints to readers that the poem is not about any pleasant or happy experiences. In the first stanza, Plath compares her tears to vinegar, which is a substance that is corrosive, pungent, and stinging. The word vinegar shows on a surface level that her relationship was over, emphasizing the fact that she is extremely depressed. Later, she refers to an acetic star and a caustic wind. All of these rich imageries imply a tone that is harsh and corrosive. By comparing her tears to "vinegar", Plath successfully expressed the idea that not only the crying was sad, but the tear in itself was sad. This creates a realistic image of her sadness after being abandoned by her lover. In the second stanza, Plath uses the imagery of a sour expression that ensues after tasting a lemon to describe her inner feelings. "Wry-face"
Poetry is often written as a result of reflecting on an intense emotional experience or a significant event.
Q: Poetry is often written as a result of reflecting on an intense emotional experience or a significant event. Examine the techniques used by one poet to convey the significance of an experience or event which gave rise to a poem or a sequence of poems. "Daddy"is a very emotional poem by Sylvia Plath. She wrote it just before she committed suicide in the early 1960's. It is a very angry poem which is centred around Plath's relationship with her father, who died when she was much younger. Much of her anger and emotion arises from this event. Despite the fact that he has been dead for some time, it is still certain that she feels affected by it. The first verse of the poem creates the tone followed throughout, and helps to set the rest of the poem in context: "You do not do not do, you do not do Anymore, black shoe In which I have lived like a foot For thirty years, poor and white, Barely daring to breathe or Achoo." Here, the poet is stating that they have "...lived like a foot for thirty years...", a simile that is giving the sense that she has felt oppressed for her whole life, as living "like a foot" is a claustrophobic image, showing how she cannot break free of the "black shoe" which it is made apparent is representing her "daddy" figure. The opening line, "You do not do..." is similar to how a parent would tell a child off, but the poet is reversing the role
A Commentary on Plath's The Surgeon at 2am Fraught with the stress of depression combined with the pain of a recent miscarriage, Plath was preoccupied with the concept of hospitalisation when writing 'The Surgeon at 2am'. Taking on the persona of a male surgeon, the controlling role to her more passive role as patient, she explores the concept as the surgeon as master and alludes to a higher power in explaining the apparent magic and complexity of the human body. The title of this poem introduces us to its major subject matter, as is typical of Plath's poetry. The first two lines of the first stanza appear subjective and clinical, introducing us to the idea of the surgeon being a man of science. The line 'hygienic as heaven' also alludes to death, a commonplace occurrence in any hospital. This is followed through by the reference to the death of the microbes. This also gives an air of control to the poem and allows the reader to understand the controlling role of the surgeon as he performs his work. This stanza also introduces the idea of the surgeon operating as a higher power behind the scenes; 'a snowfield, frozen and peaceful' explains that he is all alone in his work and that, with the patient being under anaesthetic, he has total control. The metaphor 'a lump of Chinese white' for the mask of the patient dehumanises him somewhat; the surgeon is left with a body to play
Re-read 'A Birthday Present'. By means of close analysis of the language of this poem, demonstrate how Plath achieves her effects in this poem, and by means of BRIEF reference to one or two other poems, say how typical of her writing you find it.
Re-read 'A Birthday Present'. By means of close analysis of the language of this poem, demonstrate how Plath achieves her effects in this poem, and by means of BRIEF reference to one or two other poems, say how typical of her writing you find it. Plath's poem 'A Birthday Present' creates binary oppositions of images by using antithesis. An example of antithesis in this poem is when the narrator asks, "is it ugly, is it beautiful?" The adjectives 'ugly' and 'beautiful' are opposing images. The structure of this phrase is mirrored in the line below when the narrator asks, "has it breasts, has it edges?" These two images are opposite as when we imagine 'breasts' they are round and smooth and not sharp like an 'edge'. By using this linguistic device Plath creates a 'seesaw' effect between positive ('beautiful') and negative ('ugly') lexis. Plath uses this device of conflicting lexis throughout the poem creating a tension. Furthermore, it can also be said that Plath uses these binary oppositions on a more subtle level to create the theme of good vs. evil. This theme can be seen in some of Plath's other poems. Take 'Face Lift' or 'Morning Song' for example, the theme of good and evil is represented by the images of babies she juxtaposes with those of death. The same binary opposition of images is used in 'A Birthday Present' when the narrator says, "White as babies' bedding and
How do poets use ‘voice’ to instil their poems with personality? Consider with reference to three poets.
How do poets use 'voice' to instil their poems with personality? Consider with reference to three poets. For poetry to be truly personal, a voice is needed. It is through the voice of a poet that the reader can glean some sense of that poet's identity and nature. Who are they? What are they trying to say? Why? One could even go so far as to say that the voice of a poem or poet is fundamental to its aesthetic value and 'readability' - without a distinct and clear voice, how can we distinguish a poem from the surrounding, ambient babble? It is the voice which endears a poet to the reader - without a voice, how can we identify with a poet? All these questions must be considered carefully. The voice of a poet can be a vehicle for political, personal, and social expression, as well as instilling a poem with a sense of personality - one might say the function of a poet's 'voice' is to stamp their poem with their identity. It is the idea of an author's voice, rather than the voice itself which draws us towards the author as an entity - someone with whom we can identify, converse and understand. The actual process of reading may be, on one level, entirely one-sided, but in reading a poem (or any piece of literature for that matter) we bring as much to the work as we take from it. In this way, reading a poem is not one-sided at all, and is instead a rich progression towards a higher