How does Plath convey her alienation and increasing paranoia in the bee poems, focusing on “The Arrival of the Bee Box”?
“The Arrival of the Bee Box”, “Stings” and “The Bee Meeting” all convey Plath’s increasing paranoia, and alienation through the use of literature terms, structure of the poem and tone of the poem. The time in which she wrote these poems her and her husband Ted Hughes had recently separated leaving her and her two children, in Devon surrounded by the countryside, isolated form family, and friends.
The “Bee Box” personifies Plath’s afflictions of women, with her voice being fundamentally feministic. Plath herself has suffered as a mother and as a wife that has been confined to the house being her "box" of alienation. Plath however is conscious of her imprisonment and expresses her optimism that this is only a "temporary" phase that will pass she will wins her emancipation from not only her stereotypical role as a wife and mother given to her by Ted Hughes, but society as a whole. This feminist voice is continued in “Stings”, as Plath’s embodies a “bee” and conveys that although she may have been a drudge before, she will not be one any more. She refuses to submit to the hard working drudge of a society, and believes she is more than that, perhaps even a “queen” as she is independent and resentful towards her adulterous husband Ted Hughes, as he is “the engine that killed her”, but a previous weak Plath not this new Plath, that has risen above his cheating ways, and doesn’t need a man to make her strong, taking a feminist attitude towards the situation.
In “The Arrival of the Bee Box”, the introduction of the bee box instantly presents the reader to Plath’s conflicting feelings toward the contents inside including Plath’s heightening paranoia. The “box” is a metaphor for Pandora’s Box which in Greek mythology, was carried by Pandora whom when opened it unleashed all the evils of mankind upon the world which included greed, vanity, lies, envy but it also unleashed hope. The bees contained in the box are Plath’s externalisation of her mind which includes her thoughts and memories.