I will now analyses Plash’s poetry, relating its emotional content and vivid imagery to the turmoil in her life which is evident in her poetry. In “The Arrival of the Bee Box” Plat explores her inner mind and expresses a desire to be in control. The poem also depicts mental anguish. The box represents the hidden aspects of the mind; the dark and mysterious parts the port must explore. Plat is nervous about exploring her unconscious mind and horrified by the demons that might lurk there. The sight and sound of the locked box fills the speaker with dread. “The box is locked and it is dangerous.
She seems to associate it with death, referring to it as a “coffin. ” Her dread seems to be exacerbated by the fact that she can’t see into it. She is struggling to understand what is going on in her own mind as there is “such a din in it. ” Yet, though the box horrifies the speaker it also fascinates her. She feels compelled to stay near, she “can’t keep away from it. ” The speaker’s reaction to the box is then complex and contradicting. It seems to repulse and attract her at the same time. This poem is deeply personal and depicts mental turmoil but amongst this a note of hope can be seen.
The speaker can overcome her fear of the bees by releasing them. She will conquer her fear and empower herself. She will go from being powerless (“no Caesar”) to being powerful (“sweet God”). If the poet can overcome this seemingly irrational fear of the bee box, perhaps she can overcome the deeper intense mental turmoil that seems to control her. Plat uses a very unique yet effective technique that she described as psychic landscapes. She uses a scene from nature or an element of the natural world in order to convey an inner state of mind.
The box seethes with guiros need “black on black angrily clambering” over one another in a Hattie fashion. This disturbing imagery similarly represents her mind seething with dark, angry and negative emotions. The repetition of the hard “b” sounds creates a harsh musical effect appropriate to the unpleasant and unsettling images this line describes. In this poem Plat expresses her anxiety about the darker angry aspects of herself and what could happen if she loses control over them. She expresses these prominent yet personal emotions through her disturbing imagery.
In the poem “Poppies in July” Sylvia Plat is in an extremely agitated state of mind. She uses several violent and disturbing comparisons to describe the poppies. The description of the poppies intense redness as “little hell flames” remind her of the fires of hell. This image is an unnerving interpretation of the poppies reflecting the poet’s state of mind. She is gripped by her feelings of numbness and emptiness. She wants to put her “hand amongst the flames. ” Her utter neutrality makes her long for some sort of extreme physical sensation. But she is incapable of feeling them, “nothing burns. Plat is unable to suffer such pain or injury, she wishes to lapse into a coma like existence where she will feel and experience nothing at all. She imagines resell to be existing within a “glass capsule,” into which she longs opiates to “seep. ” These “liqueurs” will dull and still her until total oblivion is reached and the world fades away. The poem’s last word “colorless” could belong to the clear opiate potion that the speaker wants to drink it, it could refer to the trance like state the speaker wishes to enter. In this state she would no longer be aware of the sights and sounds of the world around.
To her, everything would be soundless and “colorless. ” She also uses psychic landscapes in this poem. The description of the field of poppies responds with and illustrates the mental turmoil the poet is experiencing. Her mental state is in a hellish place and she describes the flowers as “little hell flames. ” The speaker uses short choppy lines, skillfully suggesting the agitated mental state of someone in deep depression. The poet uses disturbing language, intensifying the poem and easily conveying the mental turmoil she is feeling. “Child” opens dramatically with the mother addressing her child in what is the longest line in the poem.
She tells the child that their “clear eye is the one beautiful thing. I think it is very striking the way Plat is so assertive in this sentence. This is because of the way she uses the word “absolutely. ” There is to be no argument about this point. Her feelings of Joy and admiration are conveyed in this line. She considers her child’s eye to be something pure and untainted. The poet wants to present the child with images that are fun and colorful. “l want to fill it with color and ducks. ” She also wishes to offer the child “grand and classical images. ” Such experiences will nourish the child’s mind, allowing it to blossom and grow.
However, the poet appears o be suffering from depression, it is a stark poem about mental anguish. She feels that she is living in a world without lights beneath a “dark ceiling without stars. ” Perhaps in her despair and her inability to offer the child grand and beautiful images she is sucking the goodness out of life. Her description of the “troubles wringing” of her hands is a vivid image, illustrating her inner mental turmoil. Her child’s innocence and her inability to provide it with bright and happy moments only heightens her sense of suffering and is left feeling inadequate as a mother.
The lowers Plat mentions in this poem are interesting. The “April snowdrop” is a particularly beautiful flower, pure white in color. This flower is a symbol for her child who she considers so delicate and innocent. The “Indian pipe” on the other hand is a less beautiful flower. It is said to exist in darkened forests and feeds on the decaying matter of other dead flowers. It may therefore represent the mother in the poem. Plat compares her child to a “little stall without wrinkles” and the child’s eye to a “pool,” naturally reflecting positive, exuberant images of the child’s fulfilled life.
She captures the way everything fascinates small children by describing until world as “the zoo of the new. ” The musical touch of this line gestures towards a nursery rhyme effect. She wants her child to experience things that will nourish and preserve his beauty and innocence, but she doesn’t feel capable to provide that experience. This poem is probably one of Plash’s most personal poems as she conveys her truest thoughts and hopes for her child through accurate metaphors and symbols. Like several of Plash’s poems, “Mirror” gives voice to an inanimate object.
The mirror tresses how accurately it reflects anything that is put in front of it. It shows each object “Just as it is. ” It claims to “swallow” all that it sees and compares itself to a “lake. ” These are metaphors for how mirrors create the illusion of depth, that there is more to the mirror that what you see at the surface. The mirror refuses to be blamed for any dismay or disappointment people may feel when they examine themselves in its surface. It is “not cruel only truthful. ” We learn of a relationship between the mirror and the woman who owns it. The woman seems to be mentally anguished.
She is regularly gripped by fits of loneliness and despair that involve “tears and an agitation of hands. ” She spends a great deal of time staring in the mirror, gazing at the reflection in an attempt to understand herself. The mirror is not only important to the woman in a casual everyday sense but also in a psychological sense. She has lost her way in life and her sense of her own identity. She gazes into the mirror in an attempt to locate and reconnect with her true self. It’s as if staring at her own reflection allows her to explore the depths of her own psyche and discover what really makes her who she is.
The mirror needs the woman too. We get the impression that it looks forward to her daily visits and would be lonely without them. “Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. ” The mirror acts almost like the woman’s faithful servant, loyalty continuing to reflect her back even when she turns away from it. All the mirror gets in return for this loyalty is the opportunity to witness the woman’s distress. “She rewards me with tears. ” The tone here is one of bitterness and sarcasm, as if the mirror feels the sight of the woman’s tears isn’t much off reward for its faithful service.
When the woman is not there the mirror reflects “the opposite wall. ” There is something almost pathetic about the way it seems to have fallen in love with the piece of wall opposite it. The poem’s last two lines mark another shift of direction introducing the themes of old age and depth. We get a sense that the woman is also troubled by the prospect of impending old age. The mirror uses a striking metaphor to describe the process of getting older saying that the woman “has drowned a young girl” in its depths. This poem deals with many personal aspects of Plash’s personal problems as she reflects wrought the years by gazing at her reflection.
For me Plash’s poetry stands out because of its sheer emotional power. In poems like those in which I have described above there is an emotional intensity like nothing else I have come across in poetry. Her clever use of language and the disturbing imagery creates her intense poetry and makes it deeply personal. We see her eloquent dismissal and criticism of society, we see her in her role of a mother and we see her drift into hopelessness in the final poems where she rewards a mirror “with tears” of inner turmoil.