The poems of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes Tell the Story of Unendurable Lives

The poems of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes Tell the Story of Unendurable Lives

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The poems of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes tell the story of the lives that have become unendurable.

In the 1950’s women were expected to behave in a certain ways. The poems written by both Plath and Hughes revels the effects of the ideology domesticity 1950’s Britain, on how women were expected to act. Plath’s marriage was a very stressful ‘on the edge’ relationship. The poem ‘The applicant’ reflects how much women were viewed as objects. One quotation supporting this is ‘do you wear, A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch?’ this shows that women had to be perfect for a man, as if you could buy them.

In the applicant Plath writes, ‘it can sew. It can cook. it can talk talk talk’ this reveals that the view of marriage at the time was more of a game than serious relationship. ‘It can sew’ shows that men had no respect for women and just expected them to be perfect.

Plath wrote many poems about motherhood. The poem you’re is about a baby in the mothers womb. She encounters many ‘for’s’ and ‘against’ about her unborn child. She uses many striking similes and metaphors. The poem is like a riddle, she never says the baby is unborn she just gives lots of hints. Plath’s positive and negative feelings about pregnancy are shown in the following quotes. A negative feeling, ‘gilled like a fish’ this shows that the baby can breathe in the mothers womb but if you think deeper it shows that the baby is a alien to the human race. A positive feeling is ‘jumpy as a Mexican bean’ this shows that the baby is joyful and full of energy.

‘Morning song, is a poem about the birth of her baby. Plath’s positive and negative feelings are expreresed in the following quotes. ‘Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue’ this is a positive expression, it shows that People "Ohhh" and "Ahhh" at the baby, ‘new statue’ represents a object that would get lots of attention. A negative expression is ‘In a drafty museum, your nakedness Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls’, this shows that the hospital is like a drafty old museum with many visitors.

‘Edge’ was written on 5th February 1963 six days before she committed suicide. Maybe these poems lead to her death. Plath writes ‘Greek necessity’. Ancient Greeks believed that death was a step to greater knowledge.

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Maybe she thought that it would apply to her? An example of personification in the poem is ‘Feet seem to be saying: we have come so fat, its over.’ this symbolises that it’s the ‘end’ of the journey, life, that she has had a succsesful life with her poems but she cannot cope any longer.

In the poem ‘pike’, hughes shows his admiration towards the fish in the quote. ‘Pike, three inches long, perfected.’ He shows how much he likes them by the language used. The poet shows his fear towards pike in the quote, ‘killers from the egg: the malevolent aged grin’ he shows this by putting ‘malevolent grin’ this sybolises that they are evil and could possably be the living form of the devil. In an interview about the poem hughes notes that he sees the ‘pike’ as being sybolic of deep, vital life. The interview revels that Hughes’s feelings towards Plath are weird, he dreams about hooking a pike. He quotes ‘as it came up, its head filled the lake’ this may sybolise Plath. A great ‘catch’.

Hughes’s poem ‘lovesong’ was written after plaths death. The date is significant because Plath died and he may be writing about her. In the poem hughesnuses imagary such as ‘jack boots’ this is an aggressive image as Nazis used to wear them.

I do feel the poems left by Plath are the explanation to her suicide because as the poems got closer to her suicide they became more ‘dark’ and deppressing.
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