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Sylvia Plath Project
Transcript of Sylvia Plath Project
I think the imagery is a key ingredient to understand
the theme of the poem. By Sylvia Plath
Analyzed by Rachel, Arrah
and Katie Morning Song Language Imagery Tone BY Arrah Valenzona By Rachel Hill By Katie O' Loughlin Motherhood and celebration of birth Loss and separation / Fear of annihilation Mental Despair Theme Motherhood and Celebration of birth Mental Despair : Use of Simile "New Statue'' "bald cry'' "A far sea moves in my ear'' "One cry and I stumble from bed,cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown'' "The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars'' Her use of simile's are very effective in her poetry
It creates interesting images in this poem that helps me to understand what she is trying to say.
Her use of imagery The speaker is referring to her new born child in this image. The mother compares her baby to a magnificent piece of art and herself the artist.
This phrase in the first stanza is very powerful. It almost has an onomatopoeic effect.
The word 'bald suggests the newness, innocence and fragility of the baby. The mother does not feel connected with her child at this moment in time and I think the mother feels homesick because of this.
She then begins thinking back to her childhood. This is a very motherly image.
She feels very protective of her baby now and is willing to so anything for him/her.
As well as this being a motherly image, it is also a very elegant image of the mother. The words 'floral' and 'Victorian nightgown' suggest the elegance of a mother in this image. I really like this image of the approach of dawn.
Then as the sun rises the mother's mood lifts and everything seems okay again in her life. "Love set you going like a fat gold watch'' This simile is really effective in the first line of the first stanza of the poem.
It tells the reader that this baby is sturdy, reliable and someone who will stand the test of time.
There could also be a hint of religion there. The mother feels separated from her baby.
She does not feel like her mother.
She feels that the baby belongs 'among the elements' "Your mouth opens clean as a cat's'' The mother is desperately trying to connect with her baby but spectators 'shadows' their 'safety'
This is another interesting simile seen in the poem.
It creates a beautiful, vivid image in my mind.
I can clearly see the baby's yawn just like a cat's.
It is a very effective simile as we can almost hear the baby's little yawn. (onomatopoeic effect) This stanza shows the mother washing her hands of her responsibilities to her new born baby.
Feeling of loss and the separation between the two is evident. "I'll no more your mother."
Here the mother regains a connection with her baby but she feels homesick.
She now feels separated from her childhood happiness by the sea. "A far sea moves in my ear" "The clear vowels rise like balloons" This shows the overwhelming feeling of hope and optimism the mother has for her baby.
The mother is euphoric and feels capable to look after her baby for the rest of her life.
The ohh-ing and ahh-ing of the baby reassures the mother Plath uses : Similes
Verbs Similes "Love set you like a fat gold watch" "Blanky as walls"
"Your mouth opens clean as a cat's"
"The clear vowerls rise like balloons" Similes Her use of similes create vivid images
Places emphasis on the profound meaning
of these images
Arouse emotion and reaction from the readers Punctuation Full stops
Breaking of lines Full stops & Commas "Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival." The comma creates a pause, indicating an observation.
The full stop confirms this observation thus making it seem factual. "New Statue." The fulls stop depicts this awe-filled statement as being
matter-of-fact. Broken Lines "All night your moth-breath
Flickers..." The breaking of the line creates a dramatic pause
It is almost as if you can hear the child's breath flickering Adjectives "Bald cry"
"Moth-breath" Adjectives Emphasis the emotion the speaker feels towards the baby and her surroundings. Verbs "Our voices echo"
"Magnifying your arrival"
"I stumble from bed"
"Rise like balloons" Effect of Verbs Highlight the emotion present
Hyperbole - exaggerates the imagery Evidence of the theme of Mental Despair The speaker's mind is unsettled
She is being gnawed at by fear, anxiety and insecurity "Your nakedness shadows our safety" Mental Despair The speaker is inflicted with depression.
There is a conflict between careless narcissim and affectionate motherhood. "I'm no more your mother"
"One cry and I stumble from bed" Sudden changes of opinion Affection as a mother suggests the speaker's desire for happiness. "Love set you going"
"New statue" However, this desire is interupted by the speaker's abrupt moments of profound doubt and despair "Your nakedness shadows our safety" Discomfort in the hospital She describes the hospital as being "drafty".
This suggests a sense of coldness and emptiness thus depicting the theme of mental despair.
Also it gives an insight into the torment Plath suffered in the psychiatric unit.
A period that undeniably scarred her for the remainder of her life. Ending of the poem Note of optimism Creates a sense of hope that perhaps the speaker may overcome her mental despair. The child is her source of hope and happiness. "the clear vowels rise like balloons" "whitens and swallows its dull stars" Shows the poets fear of annihilation. For Example, the line: "Than the cloud that distils a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hands.'' Interpretation Her use of imagery in the poem is vivid and has an effect on the tone of the poem.
It conveys exactly how the poet is feeling through the use of simple images.
Imagery is the key ingredient to understanding the poem "New statue" may indicate that the baby is a perfect work of art.
Stanza 2:'Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival" The baby is new and like an exhibit in which the adults stand around Plath ohhing and ahhing at the newborn baby, The baby.s fragility causes the parents to feel anxious about their ability to protect and safegaurd the child they have brought into the world.
Stanza 3:Here there is a complex image of the relationship between the mother and the daughter, She thinks about her daughters birth and fears that it would rob her of her indentty. "I am no longer your mother"
Stanza 4: There is a change of tone in the fourth stanza. The sound of the childs breath, symbolising its fragile, though intense, hold on life, evokes the mother.s protective response. The child.s cry now stirs the mother into activity. Having regained her composure and her sense of self,she can laugh at herself "Cow heavy and floral in my victorian nightgown". Stanza 5: The speaker is now involved with her child, filled with wonder as her "Mouth opens as cleans as a cats". The image resonates with amused delight. The quality of happiness continues in the imagery of the growing light. The poem ends on a note of elation as the childs "clear vowels rises like balloons. Stanza 1: There is a celebration of the birth of
Plath's baby her baby is being brought into the world.
we can almost hear its "bald cry" as it comes naked and new into the world. Plath,s love for the child can be seen here as she begins to look at the baby in awe and wonder. Tone: Tone is the attitude of the writer
towards his/her subject matter! Stanza 1: In this Stanza the poet is filled with
wonder and awe. "Love set you going like a flat gold watch" here plath talks about how the baby was convinced, through love, the flat gold watch is an image of the fat precious baby that was born, she is filled with awe and wonder and happiness as the baby became part of the world around her. Stanza 2: Here the poet seems to show a sense of anxiety, she describes the baby as a "New Statue" describing it as a work of art completely unique, However plath may also be talking about the child from the miscarraige. The word "Nakedness" is used here to show the baby's constant care and protection. The following lines display Plath's uneasiness with vulnerability. The nakedness of the child shadows the safety of the adults, "We Stand around blankly as walls" also displays the unhappiness and insignificance of the adults present. Stanza 3: Here the poet shows the reader a sense of estrangement. "I'm no more your mother than the cloud that destils a mirror to reflect its own slow effacement at the winds hand" This stanza rehearses a frequently expressed fear in Plath's work- The fear of annihilation. She fears that the birth will rob her of her own identity, just as the rain creates a mirror in which the cloud can see its own effacement. Stanza 4: In this stanza we get a sense of loving and there is an affectionate tone. In stanza 4 the tone changes, the sound of the childs breath, symobolising its fragile, though insistent, hold on life, evokes the mother's protective response. The child is is a bedroom, surrounded by the pink roses of the wallpaper. Its breathing is like the sound of the distant ocean. Stanza 5: Like stanza 4, there is also a loving and affectionate tone in this stanza. The child's cry stirs the mother into activity, she is filled with wonder as "Your mouth opens as clean as a cats". The quality of happiness continues in the groiwing light. The poem ends on a note of elation as the childs "Clear vowels rises like balloons". End of Poem: Middle Continued: Middle of poem: Loss and Separation/
Fear of annihilation Mother shows no love for baby.
Lost her connection? OR
Feels baby will take her identity?
Beginning of Poem: However, the poet ends on a note of elation.