Ariel


stings

Posted in About Ariel and Plath,Stings by 06a0306lit on June 13, 2006

since we did lady lazarus in class and nick and the candlestick on the blog, i shall attempt to do stings here(: pardon me it might not be good yea but i'll try.

"bare-handed, i hand the combs.
the man in white smiles, bare-handed,
our cheesecloth gauntlets neat and sweet,
the throats of our wrists brave lilies.
he and Ihave a thousand clean cells between us,
eight combs of yellow cups,
and the hive itself a teacup,
white with pink flowers on it,
with excessive love i enameled it

thinking 'sweetness, sweetness.'
Brood cells gray as the bosssils of shells
terrify me, they seem so old.
what am i buying, wormy mahogany?
is there any queen at all in it?

 if there is, she is old,
her wings torn shawls, her long body
rubbed of its plush
poor and bare and unqueenly and even shameful.
i stand in a column

of winged, unmiraculous women,
honey-drudgers.
i am no drudge
though for years i have eaten dust
and dried plates with my dense hair.

 and seen my strangeness evaporate,
blue dew from my dangerous skin.
will they hate me,

these women who only scurry,
whose news is the open cherry, the open clover?

it is almost over.
i am in control,
here is my honey-machine,
it will work without thinking,
opening, in spring, like an industrious virgin

to scour the creaming crests
as the moon, for its ivory powders, scours the sea.
a third person is watching.
he has nothing to do with the bee-seller or with me.
now he is gone

in eight great bounds, a great scapegoat.
here is his slipper, here is another,
and here the square of white linen
he wore instead of a hat.
he was sweet,

the sweat of his efforts a rain
tugging the world to fruit.
the bees found him out,
moulding onto his lips like lies,
complicating his features.

they thought death was worth it, but i
have a self to recover, a queen.
is she dead, is she sleeping?
where has she been,
with her lion-red body, her wings of glass?

now she is flying
more terrible than she ever was, red
scar in the sky, red comet
over the engine that killed her-
the mausoleum, the wax house."

alright. i couldnt understand a lot of the images that plath used in this poem. however i know some of them.

firstly, she's talking about the paternal again. the speaker potrays herself as a bee, a queen bee to be exact. basically, what she is saying is that women are somewhat exploited in society. bees slog and slave to produce honey, which man then harvests to eat. thus i think that she's trying to say that the women do all the work and the men just reap the benefits. in addition, she mentions that the women are "unmiraculous" and calls them "honey-drudgers". by mentioning that the women are unmiraculous she means that every woman is the same as the other, with nothing special to their name. it seems that they exist just to exist, living their lives out without much ourpose. drudgers are the worker bees, which exist only to collect as much pollen and make as much honey as possible, as well as look after the young that the queen produces. by calling women drudgers, plath is trying to say that women serve only to wait on a higher authority, namely men. they have no will of their own, doing only what they are made to do.

plath also mentions that she is no drudge, but that she has lived like a drudge for years. this suggests that she wasnt born to be the same as the other women, to live out her life just working to wait on a higher authority. however, society has moulded her into becoming just like these women, such that she sees her "strangeness evaporate" from her. in addition, she mentions that "the engine that killed her" is the "wax house". this suggests that the "wax house" (society) is what killed her identity, once again showing how society suppressed and even eventually "killed" her.

there's a suggestion of a search for identity through ressurection in this poem. the speaker mentions that she is "in control" yet later states that she "will work without thinking". i find this quite ironic since the mention of not needing any conscious control over herself to show that she's actually not in control. thus this shows that she wants control even after she has lost control of who she really is, and thus a desperation to hang on to whatever control she has left. she also mentions that she has "a self to recover" and that when she rose again she's now "more terrible than she ever was". this suggests a gaining of power in the death and recovering of herself, that after she has died she is now stronger and a more formidable force. she also mentions that she is a "scar in the sky". i find the word "scar" to show that she now has a power to make a difference in society, to stand out and defend herself, and leave a lasting impression, a visible mark to remind society of the wound she caused.

there was this part i didnt quite get. there was a mention of the speaker buying the combs in the beginning. later on, there is the mention of the speaker being a queen bee. i guess this once again shows a confusion of identity or the multiple roles that plath plays in society? in addition, there's this part in the beginning where she seems to love the hive so much, but then later says that it terrifies her and calls it "gray as the fossils of shells" and "wormy mahogany". it's as though she is disgusted at it. i dont really understand this part. if anyone knows, please enlighten me yea?

there's much more i dont understand too so i'll just leave it at this.

*xin

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Last Ariel Lesson With Ms. Stephanie Chua

Posted in Random ravings by 06a0306lit on May 16, 2006

Today was the last Ariel lesson with Ms. Stephanie Chua. Well, we’re all going to miss her I’m sure. *Sob* Anyway, we had really memorable times I’m sure. Mostly good, minimally bad with one hell of an EXTREME teacher. =) =( =P Your views were always insightful and were encouraging (most of the time) and frank (all the time).

Ms. Chua, hope you’re reading this.

Enjoy your studies in Japan, I’m sure you’ll do well. (It could have been Mr Sas! Aww!)

Don’t forget 06a0306lit…

Keep happy… by thinking of us. =)

And personally,

Thank you.

Nick and the Candlestick

Posted in Nick and the Candlestick by 06a0306lit on May 14, 2006

Hi! =) Azri here and the first time I’m posting on this blog. To be honest, I don’t understand the purpose of blogging. I mean if you want to express your thoughts, why let the whole world critique it under a microscope? Some things are meant to be kept private. But yeah, digressing a bit. =X I loved this poem. Serious. I thought it was inspirational and moving, something not often seen in Plath poems. Okay Ms Chua and others are going to stab and stomp on me now. hAhA.

Well, ready lets roll!

A possible theme in this poem would be that of the speaker’s inability to identify or connect with any community or her surroundings. The “earthen womb” cave she mines in, her world, is claustrophobic as “black bat airs wrap [her].” This image suggests that her surroundings are impinging on her, not allowing her space to move, an allusion to her freedom and personal space. She is driven to “dead boredom”, very final in the tone conveyed, by the “old cave of calcium” and “old echoer”, words she describes her world as. The repetition of the word “old” shows her frustration at being stifled in such a lacklustre environment. The prevalent colour of white in “calcium”, “fish” as “panes of ice” and “newts” suggest she lives in plain, drab surroundings with people she cannot identify with. Yet, she believes everyone and everything is out to hurt her. Even “fish”, or food that sustains life, are a “vice of knives” to cut her. “Religion”, to many is a focal point to bring peace, order and stability to their lives. However, to the speaker, religion is portrayed as a vicious “piranha drinking its first communion out of my live toes”. This image suggests that she cannot connect to religion, it does not provide her with solace. Instead, it drains the pureness and life out of her slowly but surely. The speaker has completely lost touch with the community around her, even disdaining religion, as they are mundane to her, do not allow her to be her true self as they inhibit and as she believes, even try to hurt her.

First para only. Hehe.

In this poem, we are also given the suggestion that the speaker is searching for her identity or meaning to her life. The very image of the speaker as a “miner”, someone digging deep beneath the surface of the earth for something precious, suggests she is looking for something intangible that the mere physical entities on earth cannot fulfil. Perhaps that is why she has extended her scope outward to the cosmos in “stars” and “mercuric atoms”. Unable to find what she seeks here, she has extended her reach to the ethereal. We can see how willing the speaker is to find such identification as she endures the “pain” of motherhood and even her “tears” have dried and solidified as “waxy stalactites”. This image shows the intensity of her pain, the tears having stayed on her cheeks, cutting at her like “panes of ice”. Fo further emphasise her desperation at wishing to find identity, she boldly declares to “let the mercuric atoms that cripple drip into the terrible wel” suggesting she is willing to cast off all things worldly, even the very bonds that tie her down to earth, “atoms” being the very structure of her physical existence. All this shows her great desire to find something intangible that will gift her meaning and identification.

The final theme of this poem is that of the joy and solace the speaker finds in motherhood, or more specifically her child. Her child is the “candle” in her dark cave of existence and its “yellows hearten” providing her with a beacon of light to see, hope perhaps. She has even adorned her surroundings with objects of comfort and affection in the form of “soft rugs” and “roses” in anticipation of the child. This shows us 2 things: she is willing to suffer for the sake of the child as she believes the child will provide her something worth living for and something uncommon in Plath poetry, “love”. The blatant repetition of “love” thrice drives the point home that she derives comfort and affection from this child. She finds solidity and reliability in the child as she can “lean on” it. Juxtaposing this with the idea of religion earlier on, the child acts the pillar of faith religion cannot provide. The speaker makes allusions to Jesus Christ as her child is “the one” or the saviour with direct reference to “the baby in the barn” or Jesus in the manger. It is obvious she sees this child as her hope for the future and finds solace in the child as her faith, allowing her to continue in her dark environment where she cannot identify with her community otherwise. Only in her child does she find a connection as she believes her “blood blooms clean in you, ruby”, describing how her blood flows in the veins of the her child. This imagery suggests she has a deep emotional connection with the child as she sees it as part of her very being and self. The child provides her with with the sense of identification she searches for and purpose to continue mining or living.

Yep. Thats it. I guess you could comment on it.

On a personal note, I believe that all of us can identify with Sylvia Plath at one point in time or another. Hers is an inner loneliness that transcends merely being with people. Although she functions as a normal human being does, she feels ‘different’ from her community around her and does not feel that she is accepted as one of them. (More of this in Stings, if I do post) I like the way she responds to motherhood. It gives her hope and new purpose to life as she sees her child as something more than another human being. She sees it as a chance to redeem herself and be born a new.

Darn. I’m feeling so sentimental now. Hmm. Maybe I should get a kid. =)

Nick and the Candlestick

Posted in Nick and the Candlestick by 06a0306lit on May 14, 2006

okay it’s my turn to blog this week…well guess i’ll choose this one then…some of the themes are gien n the notes by ms chua, i’ll try to support them with the different techniques…..kind of like this poem….

Firstly, the whole poem seems to have a contradiction about motherhood. It says both the positive side and negative side of motherhood and this confuse the readers about how the poet is actually feeling. The poet reinforces a good point, then destroys it. For example, the poet describes her womb as “old cave of calcium”. The use of imagery is to portray that her womb is old, decaying and meaningless, yet at the same time, it is nutritious as it is filled with calcium and is good for the body. The diction used are vivid and strong. The poet describes the baby as “holy Joes” and compares it with “Christ”. However, at the same time, the baby is “black”, “dead”, “vice of knives” and like a “piranha”. Something so beautiful and lovely can also be dangerous and lifeless. Perhaps the message that the poet wants to convey is that there are ups and downs of motherhood, nothing is perfect. “Black bat airs”, use of assonance here with the repetition of the a sound emphasises the darkness as being threatening and dangerous. Succesive rhyming words such as “cripple drip” are used to show the “terrible” area of motherhood and it creeps into the “well” that is long and deep. She tries to claim the relationship but fails.

Another theme is the detachment of physical self. The mother is detached from her physical self and she has gone into the womb where the baby is. The use of short phrases such as “wrap me, raggy shawls”, depicts the short, detached, staccato rhythm of the poem. The imagery “weld to me like plums” shows the bondage between the child and her shows her body connection with the child inside her womb, sticking to her. The poet describes it as an “old cave of calcium”. This representation of a juxtaposition between “old” and “calcium” further conveys this whole idea of detachment. (okay im not sure if this is correct, i mean how can it be old, dying yet filled with calcium? something that is still beneficial). The candle “glups” and recovers its small altitude. The use of onomatopoeia shows the abrupt feeling which is uncomfortable.

The theme of love and parental relationship has also been brought up. No matter how painful is it to bring up a child, the mother will still “love” the child. The fact that the word “love” is repeated three times in the poem shows the emphasis of the love between the child and the parent. The poet says the she had “hung our cave with roses”. She uses “our”, not my, which shows connection, that both mother and child exsit as one, unity. She even decorates it with “roses”, which again brings out the mood and tone of love and peace. The picture portrayed here is beautiful. The baby is a “ruby”, a precious stone, is that “one solid space” in her womb. She can feel and connects with her child, it is solid/real.

The poet seems tobe the “miner” searching for her child inside her womb. She is experiencing motherhood. This introspective style of the mother makes this whole idea seems real and vivid. There is also a general pattern with references to God, Christ.

that’s it…wow really late…looks like im done….hope this will help u guys understand the poem better…..see ya in school…..

jiayee

Daddy

Posted in About Ariel and Plath,Daddy by 06a0306lit on May 2, 2006

My first attempt at analyzing a Plath poem… so if this sucks, yepps, I hope it will get better haha. (:         

‘Daddy’ by Sylvia Plath is a poem addressed to the poet’s father. The poem takes on a second-person narrative and the poet relates her impression of her father, and how he had affected her, in a mockingly childish tone. Laden with abundant imageries of Germany under Nazi rule, the poet likens her father to a ruthless Nazi soldier. The overall mood of the poem is melancholic but angry, and conveys resentment and enmity as Plath reveals deep abhorrence towards the patriarchal figure in her life. Her hatred of her father for his unkindness led her to have murderous thoughts about him, and thus we can see that Plath intends the poem to be a revelation about the nature of her relationship with her father.

The second-person narrative of the poem lends a more personal feel to the poem, and hence making each loathe-filled line inflict more impact and hurt on the recipient.          
In the first line, Plath celebrates the departure of her father, “…you do not do, you do not do/ Any more, black shoe…” as she has finally gotten rid of the person who had rendered her “…for thirty years, poor and white/ Barely daring to breathe or Achoo…” Therefore, we can see that the treatment of Plath by her father already sets our impression of him, that he is an unfeeling man with a dictatorial nature who victimized his daughter by making her live “…like a foot…” Also, we derive from the fact that Plath barely dared to “…breathe or Achoo…” in the presence of her father made him a rather tyrannical character, with absolute control over Plath and an ability to strike fear into her “…I have always been scared of you…” Repetition of "…you do not do…" seems like an attempt to mock her father, that he was unable to oppress her again from the grave. The father-daughter relationship is dismal, with Plath saying “…I could never talk to you…” and the absence of her father, distracted by “…wars, wars, wars…” caused her to think her father a stranger, an outsider. The alienation of her from her father is apparent in the way she explained in a hurt tone “…I could never tell where you/ Put your foot, your root…” Her intense dislike culminated in her proclaiming “…Daddy, I have had to kill you…”, hence shocking the reader with her violent declaration and the murderous intent in her tone. She is unremorseful about her intention to kill her father “…you died before I had time…”, and from here Plath shows herself to be as unfeeling as she portrayed her father to be.         

Plath conjures up seemingly random imageries that she uses to associate her father with. Initially, he was a “…bag full of God…”, and then a “…ghastly statue…” The father’s representation by inanimate objects shows that Plath is devoid of any attachment or affection for her father, and desensitizes him as a human being.  She later compares him to “…a swastika…” and a “…vampire…” which are connotations of evilness and hence portrays her father in a very negative light. In addition, Plath made her father assume the persona of Hitler, with a “…neat moustache… Aryan eye, bright blue…” which further emphasizes the malignant nature of her father. Plath’s disillusion can be seen from the lines “…the snows… the clear beer/ Are not very pure or true…” She uses an imagery of a tainted landscape and beer to show her loss of hope and faith in her father and the fact that Plath “… used to pray to recover (him)…” proves the destruction of the last shred of goodwill she harbored towards her father.  She condemns her father “…brute heart of a brute like you…” and mocks him “…every woman adores a Fascist…”, completely disregarding any hierarchal respect for her parent. To her, the father figure is but an outsider who carelessly “…bit (her) pretty red heart in two…”, and his insensitivity made him “…no less a devil for that…” Basically he does not in any way fulfill his duty as a paternal figure in Plath’s life.         

In the 12th stanza, Plath’s vengeful stance fully manifested, as can be seen in her suicide attempt. She stated “…at twenty I tried to die/ And get back…to you…” The repetition of the word ‘back’ emphasizes her desire to be with him again, however, it was not for reunion with her father that she attempted suicide, but for revenge, and “…even the bones would do…” to satisfy her thirst for vengeance. The fearsome wish of Plath not only highlights the deep-seated impact of the trauma that her father had inflicted on her, but also the extent of the disturbance in her mind. After the failure of her suicide attempt, Plath then tries another way to exact her revenge, through the vicarious experience of marrying “…a model of (him)/ A man…with a Meinkampf look…” with a similar cruel nature “…love of the rack and screw…” Plath’s marriage to her husband resulted in her reflecting “…if I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two…” which indicates that her marriage was a complete failure and her husband who had “…drank (her) blood for a year/ Seven years…” was also eventually destroyed by her.          

The last stanza describes Plath’s father seemingly as Dracula, with death dealt to him by “…a stake in (his) fat black heart…” The jubilance of the “…villagers who never liked (him)…”, whose ritualistic celebration of his death by “…dancing and stamping on (him)…” hence justifies Plath’s overwhelming hatred and her ruthless act of revenge on her own father, seeing that he is a widely unpopular and despised man. Plath ends ‘Daddy’ with a vivid, loathe-filled line “…Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through…”, which conveys to the reader the poignancy of the poem and her intense hatred towards her unfeeling father.

In conclusion, 'Daddy' is a deeply unsettling poem in which Plath, with her powerful negative diction and vivid negative imageries in association with her father, conveys her intense feeling of hatred and resentment towards him. This loathe of the patriarchal figure eventually destroyed her marriage as well as a functional relationship with her father, and hence showcases the extent of influence that a paternal role wields over her own life.

By: Jieying (:  

Getting there…where?

Posted in Getting There by 06a0306lit on May 2, 2006

yo peeps, ms chua didn't manage to go through this in class today, so i guess i will try to write a post on this poem and also on what my group had discussed on….hee.

here we go…..

  The poem has this constant repetition of questioning "How far is it?" from the speaker. It shows her uncertainty and desparation on wanting to reach her destination, it also brings out the tone and mood of the poem. This journey seems to be bothering her, it "appalls" her. The fact that she mentions "it is Russia I have to get across" shows the great dstance of this journey. The speaker is uncomfortable and is "dragging" her physical body which gives us a sense of detachment from her physical self. This is not what she wants and is dreading over it. There is this sense of complete isolation between the speaker and the immediate surroundings. She is helpless in this situation and does not know what to do. The repetition of the word "mud" shows that it is difficult to escape. Mud is sticky, "thick" and viscous and she keeps on "slipping.  

  The form and structure of the poem is rather interesting as it does not have stanzas besides the last two lines. It is a continuous writing on her thoughts and feelings about the whole journey. This further portrays the fact that this journey is long and seems impossible to come to an end. It is "inexorable". The speaker also mentioned that she cannot undo herself and the train is "steaming", ready to roll like a "devil's". It shows as if the train is after her, chasing her and there is no way that she can escape. There is tis whole idea of being trapped and helpless. The speaker is stepping out from a "skin of old bandages" which is like rotting, "old" and disgusting. This whole idea of stepping out, coming out conveys the idea of being detached from her surroundings again. The speaker is "insane for the destination", she wants it and desire it so much so that is making her insane. She is no longer her normal self and this longing seems to be too much for her to take. The journey is tough for her, there are many "obstacles" to overcome.

  The poem has undulating rhythm with varying line length. It shows the detached, staccaco beat of the poem which shows confusion and there is no sense of belonging. At the end of the poem, it ended with the speaker reaching her destination. She has died in her old self and is now "pure", out of destruction with no troubles, they are all left behind. Her sufferings are so long and continuous that this abrupt short ending of redemption of herself has taken us by surprise.

 Our group has chose the theme to be a hopeless search for redemption. In addition, the pattern throughout the poem is is that there are references to religion("Adam", "gods","religious figures") death and suffering.

 hmmm…okay looks like I'm almost done….i'll post my one paragraph too…it might not be perfect, but ya it is the one we did in class today….

  One of the themes that is being portrayed in this poem "Getting There" is the hopless search for redemption. There is this constant questionig by the speaker on "How far is it?" which shows her uncetainty and desparation on when she is going to reach her destination. She is like on a long, dreadful "unending" journey and wishes to end it by reaching her final stop to redeem herself. To her, this seems to feel like a "skin of old bandages". It is rotting, "old" and disgusting which gives us this sense of detachment between the speaker and her immediate surroundings. The poem has no proper stanzas, it is long and continuous like never coming to an end and it further conveys the image of this journey being long and dreadful. Her wanting for redemption seems to be impossible and difficult to achieve as there are may "obstacles". The fact that she is "dragging" her "body" also tells us that she is suffering deep down inside.  

that's it! jia you everyone…sylvia plath sometimes can be rather inspiring to me…it teaches me to appreciate poems more(which i don't during thr Os). yup hope that her poems will inspire you guys too!

jiayee or (plus one)

Getting There (=Jamie=)

Posted in About Ariel and Plath,Getting There by 06a0306lit on May 1, 2006

ok…I have have to admit that this poem really is quite confusing!! haha. But, what I can understand is that the speaker is running away from Nazi oppression in the war by train, based on the name "Krupp" which is actually the name of a German arms manufacturer in WW2 and also all lines about the injured people and the speaker constantly questioning, "How far is it?".

what I will do in this post is basically just to reflect on the questions listed on Ms Chua's cheat sheet and also to write one solid paragraph on one of the themes of this poem.

ok, but first, the poem ( it's a looong one…haha )…go refer to dom's post!!

Examine the use of the journey motif in the poem. What is this journey like?
Like I mentioned earlier, the speaker is actually on a train journey, running away from German oppression. The journey is one in which she encounters a lot of "wounded' people who are in terrible condition. She describes the "tent" which the wounded are located as one "of unending cries" and this powerfully depicts how she views the sufferings of the war victims-that they know no end. Along the way, she also comes across the "body" of a "woman" and also "charred skirts and deathmask". This shows that even as she tries to flee away from the war and the sufferings, she can never totally escape them. Interestingly, what she sees her mainly related to women, perhaps an indication that the greatest victims of the war are them?

How does the journey end?
The journey ends with the speaker wanting to "bury the wounded like pupas" and to "count and bury the dead". She wants to give finality and closure to those victims of the war and bring liberation to their oppressed souls by allowing. "their souls [to] writhe in like dew". At the end of the journey, she steps from a "skin/of old bandages, boredom, old faces" which shows that the the journey has brought HER freedom. 

What is the speaker's response to the journey?
The journey is actually one which the speaker is reluctant to go on and it feels her with a lot of doubt and fear. She questions "will there be fire, will there be bread?" This shows that she is filled with a lot of doubt as to whether the journey will assure her safety and survival. She also asks "How far is it?" three times, indicating her anxiety to reach her destination and be rid of all the sufferings that she is experiencing. At the end of the poem, the speaker steps out "from the black car of Lethe" showing that the trama and the sorrows have been forgotten (Lethe:(Greek mythology) a river in Hades; the souls of the dead had to drink from it, which made them forget all they had done and suffered when they were alive) and she says that she is "pure as baby" indicating that the journey has purified her in some way.

 ok now for the one paragraph on one of the themes…lalala=)

One of the themes is the extremity of how a human can be dehumanized in war. The speaker talks about seeing "legs, arms piled" up and describes the hospital as one "of dolls". This shows that the bodies of the wounded are like dolls which can be broken apart easily and dumped casually and even the medical staff are regarded as toys, indicating that in war, people are not regarded of as humans but merely as objects. The wheels of the train she is are described as "gods" with a "will" that is "inexorable".  The fact that her fate is dependant on non-living objects to the point where she exalts them shows that in a war, a person is really dehumanized to the point where his source of survival is tied to that of something as insignificant as the wheels of a train, and is considered at the mercy of such objects.

a final note, with regard to identity...

In this poem, the speaker says that she is "dragging my[her] body", showing detachment from who she is as it is quite impossible to drag one's body unless she is not part of it. She also calls herself "a letter" which can "fly" to any "name". This really highlights how she views herself, that she is insignificant, a nobody, with no identity of her own. In the second stanza, she also mentions that the"earth I[she] rise[s] from" is "Adam's side". This has biblical reference to the story in Genesis of how the woman, Eve was created, from the rib of the man, Adam. Here, the "earth" probably refers to Adam's rib and this shows that who she is, her identity, is founded  and created through a man, that as a woman, she is in a destined subordinate position to men.

ending off…
ok this has nothing to do with Getting There. =P It's been six weeks since we began our journey on Plath's Ariel and I guess almost all of us did not really have an easy time eh. Nevertheless, we have come this far and I'm sure we'll keep on improving=D=D So, I just want to encourage everybody with a quote!! =)

History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats. -B.C Forbes-

so let's keep pressing on!!=D we will make it!! ;)

love,
Jamie

The Moon and the Yew Tree

Posted in The Moon and the Yew Tree by 06a0306lit on May 1, 2006

Here's a picture of the Fortingall Yew, with a yew tree, headstones and all =)

The first paragraph is mainly about the speaker's current state of mind, "cold and planetary". The speaker is feeling lost and alone and is "separated from my house by a row of headstones… [and] cannot see where there is to get to". This echoes the sense of hopelessness the speaker is experiencing.  There is a suggestion of disassociation of 'self' from 'body' as the speaker calls it "the mind" instead of her own. The imagery of nature bowing to her is created by the "grasses unload[ing] their griefs" to the speaker, this parallels that of humans bowing to a god. This indicates the absence of a god as the grasses think that she is god. The speaker is feeling lost and vulnerable in such a godless universe.

The imageries of Christianity are associated with darkness and boredom. The bells which "startle the sky",  "affirming the Resurrection" are described as "soberly". The saints float over the "cold pews" and have hands and faces which are "stiff with holiness". There is a hint at the speaker's inability to connect with the Christian religion. The religion is unfamiliar to her, she is unable to understand or experience it. Hence, she reaches outwards to find a relation between herself and the cosmos. The speaker looks to the yew tree hoping for answers, and it points to the moon. However, "the moon is no door", there is no escape for her from the emptiness she is undergoing. She then says that the moon is her mother, in doing so, she is claiming a relationship, hoping that it would fill the void.

Despite looking to the moon and the yew tree for answers, she gets no reply. The "moon sees nothing of this" and the "message of the yew tree is blackness".

I know the analysis of the poem is rather little, sorry.. but this was all I could think of. To sum it all up, I personally think that the poem is about the speaker not being able to relate to any particular religion, Christianity to be more exact and she is looking to the cosmos for answers. The speaker's incapability to associate with Christianity is shown by her feeling lost and abandonment in a churchyard and is looking to the moon and the yew tree for answers.

peiyi

Getting there

Posted in About Ariel and Plath,Getting There by 06a0306lit on May 1, 2006

I wasnt getting anywhere(get it get it) with my analysis of the poem so i thought i just voice my views and hope to be corrected.

The overall theme of the poem in my opinion has somethign to do with the detachment of her psychic self( soul) from her physical self) and the journey that the psychic self makes. The death of her physical self led to the birth of her psychic self. 

Here we go.

 How far is it?
How far is it now?
The gigantic gorilla interior
Of the wheels move, they appall me —
The terrible brains
Of Krupp, black muzzles
Revolving, the sound
Punching out Absence! Like cannon.
It is Russia I have to get across, it is some was or other.
I am dragging my body
Quietly through the straw of the boxcars.
Now is the time for bribery.
What do wheels eat, these wheels
Fixed to their arcs like gods,
The silver leash of the will —-
Inexorable. And their pride!
All the gods know destinations.
I am a letter in this slot!
I fly to a name, two eyes.
Will there be fire, will there be bread?
Here there is such mud.
It is a trainstop, the nurses
Undergoing the faucet water, its veils, veils in a nunnery,
Touching their wounded,
The men the blood still pumps forward,
Legs, arms piled outside
The tent of unending cries —-
A hospital of dolls.
And the men, what is left of the men
Pumped ahead by these pistons, this blood
Into the next mile,
The next hour —-
Dynasty of broken arrows!

How far is it?
There is mud on my feet,
Thick, red and slipping. It is Adam's side,
This earth I rise from, and I in agony.
I cannot undo myself, and the train is steaming.
Steaming and breathing, its teeth
Ready to roll, like a devil's.
There is a minute at the end of it
A minute, a dewdrop.
How far is it?
It is so small
The place I am getting to, why are there these obstacles —-
The body of this woman,
Charred skirts and deathmask
Mourned by religious figures, by garlanded children.
And now detonations —-
Thunder and guns.
The fire's between us.
Is there no place
Turning and turning in the middle air,
Untouchable and untouchable.
The train is dragging itself, it is screaming —-
An animal
Insane for the destination,
The bloodspot,
The face at the end of the flare.
I shall bury the wounded like pupas,
I shall count and bury the dead.
Let their souls writhe in like dew,
Incense in my track.
The carriages rock, they are cradles.
And I, stepping from this skin
Of old bandages, boredoms, old faces

Step up to you from the black car of Lethe,
Pure as a baby.

Firstly i would like to comment on the whole stanza structure of the poem.  There are only 3 stanzas and 33 lines for the first and 2nd stanzas each and 2 for the last stanza.

I feel that the first 2 stanzas were that long to show the intensity of emotions the speaker felt as the journey continued. The lighting quick rapid fire thoughts expresses the pain that the speaker felt. The pain is seemingly endless( like the journey) and thats why the stanzas are 33 lines long each.

1st stanza

"How far is it

how far is it now"

The speaker seems to have been on this journey for quite some time. The speaker's frustration can be felt by the repitition of how far is it. the journey also seems like a psycological one

The speaker also expresses her disgust for "the gigantic gorilla interior" and "the wheels they move"". It seems that the speaker hates the mechanical thing that is bringing her on this painful journey.

 "krupp" is the name of the german steel producers during ww1. The speaker criticises their "terrible brains" for producing steel to produce the machine the speaker is in. This shows that the speaker felt disdain for the mechanical object that was bringing her on this painful journey.

The never ending journey is being likened to travelling through russia, one of the largest countries on earth. The distance felt by speaker to " get across" is painfully long.

" I am dragging my body"

Miss chua mentioned in the lecture that this was evident of a detachment between her physical self and her psychic self. The psychic self finds the body a burden but is being forced to drag her shell " through the straw of the boxcars".

The speaker then attempts to bribe the wheels in order for her to escape and the speaker and desscribes the wheels as worshippers of the car, never detaching itself from their "arcs". This piece of beautiful imagery brings the wheels to life, as the speaker attaches human traits such as "pride to them. Plath was perhaps trying to compare the wheels and the car to the speaker's physical and psychic self.

" The sliver leash of the will"

This further reinforces the soul dragging the empty shell of a body. The speaker wants to be detached from the "arcs" but yet it is "fixed to the arcs like gods".A sense of struggle and helplessness is being felt here.

Later on, the speaker is being delivered like "a letter" to a trainstop with nurses and bloody images of men or " what is left of the men" is being depicted. I feel that the hospital is being described as a trainstop as it is a point where her psychic self leaves her physical self just like the speaker getting off the train.

" The tent of unending cries—

A hospital of dolls

And the men, what is left of men"

The wounded men( probably a result of war) were being described as dolls as the speaker felt that, all of these men have lost their souls. They are now just left with their physical self, lifeless and soulless like dolls.

 2nd stanza

The whole 33 lines of the 2nd stanza is full of drive , purpose and intensity.

 

 

The "insane" rush to seek the rebirth of herself, to seek release from her shell.

 

  This earth I rise from, and I in agony.
I cannot undo myself, and the train is steaming.
Steaming and breathing, its teeth
Ready to roll, like a devil's

The speaker expresses her almost satanic desire to release herself. The shows the extent of desparation that the speaker desires to seek release.

 

The place I am getting to, why are there these obstacles —-
The body of this woman,

This shows her complete detachment and disdain for her physical self. It is like an obstacle to her.

The train is dragging itself, it is screaming —-
An animal
Insane for the destination,
The bloodspot,
The face at the end of the flare.

The intensity of her desparation almost screams from the piece of paper i am reading the poem off. The climax of her journey to release herself escalates to the highest point.

The carriages rock, they are cradles.
And I, stepping from this skin
Of old bandages, boredoms, old faces

The journey ends, the speaker has stepped out from 'this skin". The speaker has obtained complete release, detachment, emancipation. The speaker has reached her destination.

3rd stanza

The 3rd stanza is only 2 lines long perhaps to show the peacefulness felt at the end of the journey. The mad rush has stopped.

 

 Lethe in Greek mythology, river of forgetfulness in Hades. The dead drank from Lethe upon their arrival in the underworld.

 

OR

 

A condition of forgetfulness; oblivion.

This shows that  the speaker has forgotten about her past and reached a stage of oblivion an almost zen like stage where the speakr finds peace and release

 

 

 

 

The final line is the final nail into the coffin. The speaker now is now " pure as a baby", a complete rebirth or reincarnation of not just her physical self, but her psychic self.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheesh i feel as if i am blabbing rambling stuff that doesnt make sense. Please please correct me much appreciation love you all loads. 

 

 

 

 

 

much love.

 

 

 

 

Dom

Medusa

Posted in Medusa by 06a0306lit on May 1, 2006

ok, hello all guys, girls, dogs and assorted animals, this is my analysis of 1/2 of the poem medusa, which is frankly bloody difficult. first, the poem itself.

Medusa
  
 
  Off that landspit of stony mouth-plugs,
Eyes rolled by white sticks,
Ears cupping the sea's incoherences,
You house your unnerving head–God-ball,
Lens of mercies,
Your stooges
Plying their wild cells in my keel's shadow,
Pushing by like hearts,
Red stigmata at the very center,
Riding the rip tide to the nearest point of
departure,

Dragging their Jesus hair.
Did I escape, I wonder?
My mind winds to you
Old barnacled umbilicus, Atlantic cable,
Keeping itself, it seems, in a state of miraculous
repair.

In any case, you are always there,
Tremulous breath at the end of my line,
Curve of water upleaping
To my water rod, dazzling and grateful,
Touching and sucking.
I didn't call you.
I didn't call you at all.
Nevertheless, nevertheless
You steamed to me over the sea,
Fat and red, a placenta

Paralyzing the kicking lovers.
Cobra light
Squeezing the breath from the blood bells
Of the fuchsia. I could draw no breath,
Dead and moneyless,

Overexposed, like an X-ray.
Who do you think you are?
A Communion wafer? Blubbery Mary?
I shall take no bite of your body,
Bottle in which I live,

Ghastly Vatican.
I am sick to death of hot salt.
Green as eunuchs, your wishes
Hiss at my sins.
Off, off, eely tentacle!
There is nothing between us.

Sylvia Plath
4th para-this paragraph has a general idea of death,with the use of the words "I could draw no breath" to indicate the idea of death. There is a general idea that the speaker has lost everything and anything, with the phase "Dead and moneyless" indicating that not only is the speaker "dead", but also devoid of any money or valuable items, having nothing to lose or gain. Also, the 4th para also gives us an idea of the speaker trying to kill something. The phrase "Squeezing the breath from the blood bells" indicates to us that she is trying to kill the "placenta" who "steamed to me over the sea". This adds to the theme of self-destruction, as her "placenta" is part of herself, tho an evil part. The phrase "Cobra light" again enhances the theme of death, linking a deadly snake to light, which gives us an idea that light is to be avoided at all costs. Also, this links back to the methological creature in the title of this poem, medusa, who had cobras for hair and could turn people to stone with her eyes, which indicate light.

5th para- This para is mainly about the speaker telling her child that she will have no part in it, giving it a tinge of betrayal. The speaker does not say why the child is evil or bad, just the fact that shes does not want it, giving reader to feel a tinge of sympathy for the child. The phrase "Overexposed, like an X-ray" indicates the idea that the speaker thinks that the child is useless, like an overexposed x-ray which can be of no use.
The phrases "Who do you think you are?/A Communion wafer? Blubbery Mary?" again indicates the speaker questioning the usefulness of the child and its beliefs that it can be of use to the speaker. The fact that the speaker uses holy items like a communion wafer indicates that the child is the exact opposite, unholyness personified. Lastly, the phrase "your body / Bottle in which I live" gives the para a very ironic tinge-Is the child the child or is the speaker the child, not to mention the fact that if it is the bottle in which i live, then the child cannot be devoid of usefulness. Also, the use of "bottle" indicates that fact that the speaker cannot escape, due to the smaller size of the bottleneck compared to the rest of the bottle. This gives an idea that it is the child in control rather than the speaker and gives the poem a twist.

6th para-The use of the phrase "Ghastly Vatican" indicates the turning of the the holy items from good to evil. Ghastly means Extremely unpleasant or bad, and the use of it with the vatican indicates that the general idea of the catholic faith is corrupted and evil, contrasted to the 5th para where the holy items were used as a contrast to evil. The para also gives the idea of finality, that the speaker has finally decided to take action against it, with the phrase "There is nothing between us". The use of the word "nothing" contribtes to the air of finality, with the speaker finally cutting all ties with the child.

Nut
 

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