The Relationship Between Mother and Child in Poetry

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The Relationship Between Mother and Child in Poetry Although each of the poems in question (You're, Morning Song, By Candlelight, Nick and the Candlestick and Mary's Song) focuses on the relationship between mother and child, the emotions dealt with in each poem vary quite incredibly. Each poem appears differently on the page: You're and By Candlelight are written in nine-line stanzas, the two poems having two and four respectively, while Morning song, Nick and the Candlestick and Mary's Song consist of six, fourteen and seven stanzas, each of three lines. It thus appears that Plath is using threes and sevens quite prolifically, as every stanza is either three or nine lines long (9 = 3²) and multiples of seven occur twice in the total number of stanzas in each poem. Three and seven both seem to have a particular significance in life. There are triunes in religion, (Father, Son, Holy Spirit,) science (energy, matter, ether,) spiritualism (mind, body, spirit,) and psychiatry (superconscious, conscious, subconscious) to name but a few, while nine is the number of months in a human pregnancy (divided into three trimesters). Sevens also occur frequently: there are seven cardinal virtues; seven deadly sins; seven ages of man; seven days in a week and seven seals in the book of revelation. Although the range of emotions is spread between the poems, they do seem to follow a linear course as the sequence progresses. You're begins with the persona (whom we can assume to be an expectant mother) talking to her foetus, and she believes that it is enjoying itself: "You're/ Clownlike, happiest on your hands". This could be a reflection of her own sentiments, implying that the mother to be is also contented... ... middle of paper ... ...y humankind. She puts herself in the position of Our Lady, thus implying that she sees her child as a saviour destined to be a sacrifice for our sins ("O golden child the world will kill and eat.") However, the suggestion is that this foreboding prophecy is enlightened. She feels that she can envisage the future because "The fat/ Sacrifices its opacity" while it cooks, allowing her to see clearly what lies ahead. The tone is rather morbid, with many references to death and the horrible events of the second world war ("the cicatrix of Poland, burnt out/ Germany".) Alongside the glorification of her child, she also acknowledges its vulnerability and isolation: "the high/ Precipice/ That emptied one man into space". She appreciates its significance as well as accepting the fact that like everyone else, it will eventually be killed by the world.

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