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Barren Woman

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by

Riley Van Iwaarden

on 7 December 2014

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Transcript of Barren Woman

Barren Woman
By: Sylvia Plath
Presented By: Steven Geist and Riley Van Iwaarden
Background Knowledge
Plath started writing poems when she was 8.
Plath wrote this poem in 1961
This poem was written after Plath had her miscarriage.
Plath does have a daughter who is 1 when this poem was written
The poem was published in the Ariel Collection, in 1965, two years after her death.
The editor of the poem was her husband Ted Hughes
This poem can be used in the IOC.
Overview:
Barren Woman is a woman who is not able to have kids. This relates to her miscarriage which is the basis of the poem.


Form
2 Stanzas
5 Lines per stanza
Enjambment
Line 4
Caesura
Line 1, 2, 4, 8
Shift
Between 5 and 6
Tone
Figurative Language

Title:
Connotation:
The moon (line 9) is a symbol of chastity and
Plath uses infertility in this poem as an isolation from all living things.
White is used as a sense of innocence and purity.

Shifts:
There is one shift that we saw between stanzas one and two:
In stanza one, the barren woman is sad and the only thing that is thought of being alive is the marble lilies.
In stanza two, the woman is hopeful and imaginative with the thought of kids.
Subject: Speaker:
The subject of the poem is Plath. Plath has had one kid, but the miscarriage is making her feel like she is a barren woman.
The speaker of the poem is the Barren Woman. She is described as empty (line 1) or a museum without statues.
Citations:
Belling, Catherine. "Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database." Plath, Sylvia : Barren Woman. N.p., 27 Feb. 1998. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Shmoop Editorial Team. "Barren Woman Dream in I Am the Messenger." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.
Imagery
Personification
Allusion
Symbolism
Extended Metaphor
Theme:
Imagery
Personification
Mythological Allusion:
Symbolism
Extended Metaphor
Emptiness will fuel the mind to induce imagination.
Apollo:
The god of music and light
A physically fit male

The barren woman is using Apollo to show that her imagination is showing the perfect son.
"fountain
leaps
and
sinks
back into itself" (Line 3)
The fountain is being described as it can jump/leap and then that it can sink. In reality, these actions cannot be done willingly on the ground by an inanimate object.
Lines 2-4.
Line 2:
architecture of the museum.
uses the museum to show a woman cut off from the natural world.
Line 3:
The fountain.
fountains are usually thought as items to rejuvenate. Which does not because it "sinks back into itself (line 3).
Line 4:
Marble lilies.
Lilies are the only object alive in this stanza.
Line 2:
"Museum without Statues"
The statues are her children in her home (the museum).
Line 7:
"white Nike and several bald-eyed Apollos."
This is symbolizing that her only children are statues.
Def. - an implied analogy, or comparison, which is carried throughout a stanza or an entire poem.
The entire poem is an extended metaphor for Sylvia Plath's miscarriage.
Criticisms:
We thought that in the poem, the barren woman is feeling that she can not have offspring.

Critiques on this poem have showed that it is "about a woman who is vulnerable in society and feels pressured to act a certain way" (Shmoop)
Full transcript