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"Edge" by Sylvia Plath
Transcript of "Edge" by Sylvia Plath
Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity
Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.
Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little
Pitcher of milk, now empty
She has folded
Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden
Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.
The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.
She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag. This line is saying that because she is "perfected", her job is done; her task is completed-- relating to the next stanza. The next line is sectioned off "her dead" indicating that she will be perfected once the woman is dead, despite the fact that the sentence is connected to the following stanza. The diction of this line gives off a strong sense of finality because her body is exhausted, but because she feels "accomplished", she has no regrets. Analyzing Stanza 4 Sylvia Plath: "Edge" The whole poem:
-represents despair and death...but sees death as a positive thing
-was the last poem she wrote before her suicide in 1963 (written 6 days prior) Analyzing Stanza 3 Analyzing Stanza 5 "Flows in the scrolls of her toga." A toga is typically white which is color imagery. White connotates a sense of pureness; so this goes back to the sense of accomplishment and honor in her choice of suicide. Analyzing Stanza 6-8 Her bare feet represent her walking into another chapter, and this new chapter is her accepting the inevitability of her death/suicide. Analyzing Stanza 9 The only regret she feels in her suicide is that she is leaving her children. The color white is used here which relates back to stanza 5 talking about the scrolls of her toga, because she finds her action of suicide to be pure and honorable. Also, the imagery of her coiling her dead children gives insight on Plath's thoughts to kill her children before she committed suicide, however ended up not doing that. Analyzing Stanza 11 Here she says "pitcher of milk" which represents her breasts because she is a mother. Then she goes on to say ,"now empty" meaning that she had become a writer, then she saw herself as a mother, and now this pitcher is empty and she is nothing. Analyzing Stanza 12 The folding of her children "She has folded," indicates the she still loved and cared for her kids, but she needed something more to keep her alive. It is also a symbol of preparation before she leaves/ commits suicide. Analyzing Stanza 13-15 Again, this is stating Plath is folding her children back into her body as petals which gives the image of the rose closing, as she stated in the following line. All of this represents her resignation as a mother. It is also the only thing she is saying goodbye to throughout the whole poem. Analyzing Stanza 16 Sylvia Plath sees the inside of a "night flower" or suicide as something "sweet", like stated in previous Sylvia Plath She was a talented writer most famous for her poetry, which happens to be very dark discussing suicide, the holocaust, and her life. She attempted suicide 3 times and her third try was successful. Citation "Edge Analysis." Elite Skills Classics. Elite Skills Classics, 10 Dec. 2008. Web. 12 Dec. 20012. <http://www.eliteskills.com/c/12645> Analyzing Stanza 1-2 Analyzing Stanza 17 & 18 Sylvia Plath writes about the "moon" which symbolizes her unrelieved suffering. It is a symbol that watches her or "staring" at her as she prepares to die.
Analyzing Stanza 19 The fact that the moon is "used to this sort of thing" signifies the insignificance of Sylvia's choice to commit suicide; she sees it as nothing out of the ordinary, because Sylvia feels the moon has seen this many times before. Analyzing Stanza 20 The color imagery and onomatopoeia in the last line concludes the poem with the inevitable death she has chosen.