Comparison of Snakecharmer and In the Snake Park
There are many methods available for poets to utilize in creating a desired effect. They may take a number of different approaches to enhance an aspect of their poetry. Both Snakecharmer, by Sylvia Plath and In the Snake Park, by William Plomer show how the poets take advantage of different techniques to illustrate the world of the snake, and draw us into it. Plath using diction and Plomer using imagery, both describe the snake in order to establish a mood for their poems. They then proceed to show the relationships between man and the snake. Plomer applies characterization to achieve this effect, while Plath uses symbolism to do so in a more subtle manner.
Plath's use of diction to emphasize the movement of the snake produces a mood of anxiety by suggesting that something evil is stirring. Alliteration is used to make the sentences flow in the motion of a serpent. This effect is achieved by weaving the words together fluidly. It is especially effective when the snakecharmer 'pipes water green until green waters waver'. The 'sways', 'coilings' and 'writhings' which occur during the formation of his world create a feeling of restlessness. An image is conjured of a twisted mound of snakes that throbs and churns on a wave of 'green' putrid water. At the beginning of the poem, the piper 'begins a snaky sphere with moon-eye, mouth-pipe.' This is repeated at the end when he 'puts up his pipe, and lids his moony eye'. The poem is given a sense of closure. It reels as though a cycle has been completed. This makes the poem swell and flow to mimic the action of the snakes.
Plomer uses imagery to describe the snakes in his poem. This imagery shows a process of change in the snakes as they encounter humans. In the beginning of the poem 'lethargy' lies 'here and there in coils'. This portrays the snakes as languid, peaceful creatures. They are sleeping in the 'white-hot midday' sun. However, the Ringsnake is then said to be pouring 'slowly through an opening like smoke'. Using smoke as a simile is effective in changing the tone of the poem. Smoke moves very ominously, and the snakes are now waking from their peaceful sleep and emerging. Toward the end of the poem, the tone changes again.