Sylvia Plaths Poetry - a Disturbing Experience?

Sylvia Plaths Poetry - a Disturbing Experience?

  • Submitted By: voke121
  • Date Submitted: 01/20/2014 12:34 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 852
  • Page: 4
  • Views: 43

From my reading of Sylvia Plaths’ poetry, I found her work a disturbing experience. Three of her poems, which I have studied; ‘Poppies in July’, ‘The arrival of the bee box’ and ‘Child’, all have similarities. I found them disturbing. I felt I was being given a glimpse into the turmoil she felt as a result of such intensely, personal work. Her vivid imagery and striking metaphors will startle any reader. Also, her work challenges, provokes a response and it is something the reader can certainly engage with. However, I did not find some aspects of her poetry disturbing. Such poem as ‘Child’, is uplifting and has an optimistic tone throughout most of the poem.

Her poem ‘Poppies in July’, is just immersed in her pain or even the lack of it. The state she describes is profoundly terrifying. It exhausts her to watch poppies flickering, yet she purposely and knowingly, continues to carefully observe them. We are seeing a rather neurotic and paranoid attitude. She perceives them as “hell flames”. She wishes for pain or death: “if I could bleed or sleep”. She is at a point where her mind is so shocked and tired that it cannot even feel: “but colourless. Colourless”. I think this is the most honest and strongest description of excruciating and suffocating emotional crisis that I have ever read. Poppies are usually an image of happiness and nature but in Plath’s poem, we can see through her dubious and appalling honesty that even the nice things in life are making her angry and upset. She can get no happiness from anything anymore. She uses similes and metaphors to compare and personify the poppies to horrid and disturbing images: “The skin of a mouth”, “Little bloody skirts”. Undoubtedly, I found this poem very disturbing and I could never imagine anyone coming to such a mental state as to cause them to yearn for oblivion and non-being as Plath does in this poem.

Studying Plaths’ work is indeed at times, a disturbing experience. Her poem; ‘The arrival of the bee...

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