Comparing Suffering in Plath's Ariel, Stings, Lady Lazarus, Wintering, and Fever 103°

Comparing Suffering in Plath's Ariel, Stings, Lady Lazarus, Wintering, and Fever 103°

Length: 1354 words (3.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Portrayal of Suffering in Plath's Ariel, Stings, Lady Lazarus, Wintering, and Fever
103°   


Sylvia Plath's poems evoke the worst of subjective fallacies. Probably some of our charged reactions are symptomatic of the times and the culture; but more of them seem to stem from the always-too-easy identification between troubled poet and what might be the tone of imagery and rhythm of the poem considered. Because Plath worked so intensively in archetypal imagery (water, air, fire as bases for image patterns, for example), many of her poems could be read as either "dark" wasteland kinds of expressions, or as the reverse, as death-by-water, salvation poems--destruction implied, but also survived, phoenix-like.

"Ariel," the title poem of the collection that made Plath known to the reading world so soon after her 1962 suicide, is a similarly ambiguous poem, rich in its image patterns of movement-stasis, light-dark, earth-fire. The progression in the poem is from the simply stated "Stasis in darkness," a negative condition as Plath indicates in the very similarly imaged poem "Years," to the ecstatic transformation-through-motion of the closing. That this is a poem about motion is clear from the second image, which seems to be a depiction of the faint light of morning ("substanceless blue pour of tor and distances") yet also stresses the movement of the image--pour, distances. The eye of the reader, like that of the poet, is on what is coming, and the scene that appears is always couched in imagery that includes motion words or impressions. Even the furrows of earth are moving ("splits and passes").

The antagonistic forces in the poem are those contrary to the motion that is so passionately evoked. Set against the unity of...


... middle of paper ...


...e close of "Ariel" suggests the same benizon, "I / Am the arrow, // The dew that flies / Suicidal, at one with the drive / Into the red // Eye, the cauldron of morning." "Then to the elements be free" . . . "at one with the dew." Plath's drive to motion, that sheer impact of energy and force, beyond the "Dead hands, dead stringencies," is the power behind not only "Ariel" but also "Stings," "Lady Lazarus," "Wintering," and "Fever 103°." That she, with Shakespeare, found such violence as the gale winds "auspicious" is an important index to these passionate and sometimes difficult poems, poems important enough to us that we must learn to read them with an insight closer to Plath's own emphasis, and to her equally personal thematic direction.

Works Cited

 Linda Wagner, "Plath's 'Ariel': 'Auspicious Gales,'" in Concerning Poetry, Vol. 10, No. 2, 1977, pp. 5-7.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Women's Fight Against Social Convention in Sylvia Plath's Poem, Ariel Essay

- Women's Fight Against Social Convention in Sylvia Plath's Poem, Ariel "Ariel" is the title poem from Sylvia Plath's controversial collection of poetry written during the last few months of her life in 1963. The traditional gender roles of 1960s America promoted a double-standard and wrongly imposed upon women the idea of a "Happy Housewife Heroine" who cherished "the receptivity and passivity implicit in (her) nature" and was "devoted to (her) own beauty and (her) ability to bear and nurture children" (Friedan, 59)....   [tags: Sylvia Plath Ariel]

Strong Essays
657 words (1.9 pages)

Analysis of Stings by Sylvia Plath Essay

- In lines 51-60 of “Stings,” imagery, allusion, and antithesis are employed by the author, Sylvia Plath, to develop her attitude towards men. In this section of “Stings,” Plath uses the “queen bee” as a symbol of herself -- a fiery, angry, vengeful daughter who rises up in spite of the man (her husband Ted) described in lines 38-50. Because much of Plath’s work is confessional poetry, it can be analyzed not only by her use of poetic devices but by her personal history as well. This poem was written on 21 May 1962, the day after a weekend visit by some friends of the family, the Wevils....   [tags: Stings Essays]

Free Essays
536 words (1.5 pages)

Plath’s Stings – An Analysis Essay

- 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....   [tags: Stings Essays]

Free Essays
400 words (1.1 pages)

Analysis Of Sylvia Plath 's Poem, Daddy, Lady Lazarus And Ariel Essay

- Controversy surrounding Sylvia Plath and her collection Ariel is still present in today’s society. The collection is written using personal stories in a confessional tone that makes it impossible for the reader to remove Sylvia Plath’s life from the poems. The interpretation of the poems filters directly into Plath’s life with memories of her father, husband, children and her struggles with mental health. The collection is controversial because Plath committed suicide and the depression and grotesqueness of her inner self is present in many of her poems; especially her later collection....   [tags: Sylvia Plath, Suicide, Confessional poetry]

Strong Essays
2075 words (5.9 pages)

Sylvia Plath's Lady Lazarus and Stings Essay

- Lady Lazarus and Stings Sylvia Plath's works are known for their extremes. Much of the influence of her poems came from the males in her life that had the most effect on her; her father, Otto Plath and Ted Hughes, who she married and later it fell apart when Ted began having an affair. The effects of these men on her were mostly negative, making her poems to have loathing and suffering. Otto Plath published a book about bees early in Sylvia's life, and he kept bees, which was an n activity later carried on by his daughter....   [tags: Lady Lazarus Essays]

Strong Essays
507 words (1.4 pages)

Comparative Analysis of Ariel by Sylvia Plath and The whitsun Weddings by Phillip Larkin

- ... Both The Applicant and The Whitsun Weddings present marriage as a societal norm and a process that is executed in a similar fashion by most individuals without question. A Birthday Present is thought to be referring to an affair that Ted Hughes (Plath’s husband) had. An Arundel Tomb explores the potential misrepresentation of a relationship between an earl and countess in the 1500s; it also explores the damaging effects of time on a relationship. The Applicant portrays marriage as an enrolment process (seemingly a job interview) whereas Larkin uses The Whitsun Weddings as a means of documenting the relationships or rather, the marriages that he witnesses around him....   [tags: Marriage, Society]

Strong Essays
598 words (1.7 pages)

The Beauty Of Nature By Sylvia Plath Essay

- The majestic beauty of nature has inspired artists of all media since the beginning of art. From ancient cave paintings to modern songs such as Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song,” the awe-inspiring wonder of nature has captivated artists and led them to express their emotions through their art. The famous poet Sylvia Plath is no different. Her admiration of the perfection of nature is apparent in many of her works, especially in the poems “I Am Vertical” and “Pheasant”. Through the use of strong contrast created by the juxtaposition of life and death, powerful figurative language, and tone, Plath reveals her hopelessness for her life and her desire to be dead....   [tags: Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Life, Aurelia Plath]

Strong Essays
1334 words (3.8 pages)

`` The Bell Jar ' By Silvia Plath Essay

- Marcel Proust once said ‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.’ Through this unceasing process of discovery, individuals attain the opportunity to the acquisition of greater knowledge and a renewed perspective of oneself and one’s relationship with the world. These broader concepts are accentuated in the play ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare, the novel ‘The Bell Jar’ by Silvia Plath as well as James Marsh‘s film ‘The Theory of Everything’....   [tags: The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath, The Tempest, Metaphor]

Strong Essays
1200 words (3.4 pages)

The Shock of Sylvia Plath's Daddy Essay

- The Shock of Plath’s Daddy “Daddy” is one of the most highly anthologized poems of Plath's (along with "Lady Lazarus"). It is a notorious poem, the one once compared to "Guernica" by George Steiner. The imagery and audaciousness of it still shock, so much so that I don't even know if it is being taught or anthologized or taught any more; it is almost as if the critical world has had its say on it and has moved on, either to other poems in Ariel, or to other books altogether, such as The Colossus or Crossing The Water....   [tags: Plath Daddy Essays]

Free Essays
540 words (1.5 pages)

Sylvia Plath's Poetry Essay

- Sylvia Plath's Poetry Wrapped in gaseous mystique, Sylvia Plath’s poetry has haunted enthusiastic readers since immediately after her death in February, 1963. Like her eyes, her words are sharp, apt tools which brand her message on the brains and hearts of her readers. With each reading, she initiates them forever into the shrouded, vestal clan of her own mind. How is the reader to interpret those singeing, singing words. Her work may be read as a lone monument, with no ties to the world she left behind....   [tags: Sylvia Plath Poem Essays]

Strong Essays
2871 words (8.2 pages)