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Plath’s Stings – An Analysis

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Plath’s Stings – An Analysis  

“Stings” is a feminist poem by Sylvia Plath. The last two stanzas are important in understanding Plath’s feeling while writing the poem.

In lines fifty-one through sixty the speaker conveys that, although she may have been a drudge before, she will not be one any more. She refuses to submit to society and be a hard working drudge. The speaker believes she is more than that — perhaps even a queen: “They thought death was worth it, but I have a self to recover, a queen.”

The speaker in the poem realizes that she has the potential to be a queen, and she didn't want to give up on that dream. She wanted to get away from her drudge-like surroundings that had once killed her spirit. She would ‘rise above the fray’ and get away from “the engine that killed her- the mausoleum, the wax house.” The beehive had become more of a prison, and she wants to get away from it very badly.

The last two stanzas are important because they are metaphoric for the way women are suppressed and forced to stay at home — doing the cleaning and watching the children. It was considered wrong and out of the norm if a woman wished to get a career for her own. Plath is trying to tell us that women who have become “drudges” as a result of marriage have more potential than just being house keepers and baby-makers.

Other stylistic elements that Plath uses include imagery and symbolism. She is very vivid in describing the way the bee looks in the last two stanzas: ”With her lion-red body, her wings of scar in the sky, red comet.” The words create a clear picture in of what she must have looks like, escaping the “mausoleum,” a symbol of the beehive and, therefore, of the speaker's entrapment. It “killed her,” or rather, killed her spirit. Once she can get away from it she is free to be the queen that she knows she has the potential to be.

Stylistic elements are very important in understanding literature. In “Stings” Sylvia Plath uses metaphoric language, symbolism and imagery to convey her feminist theme. She wants everyone to see that the women who become drudges still have the potential to be independent and rule their own lives. They should no longer be held down by their "beehive."



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