Analysis of Stings by Sylvia Plath

  • Length: 536 words (1.5 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

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. Sylvia sensed an attraction between her husband Ted and Assia Wevil, which may have provided the motivation for much of “Stings.” Lines in this section of the poem, especially lines 51-52 (“They thought death was worth it, but I / Have a self to recover, a queen”) indicate Sylvia’s desire to assert her independence, not only from Ted but from all the other female bees, who die when they sting -- “sting” in this case meaning sacrificing themselves for men. From this standpoint, “Stings” can be seen as a feminist work as well as an “anti-Ted” poem.

In lines 51-60, Plath uses several poetic devices to express this feminist theme and the anti-Ted theme. Lines 55-58 state: “With her lion-red body / her wings of glass / Now she is flying / More terrible than she ever was, red / Scar in the sky, red comet.” In these lines, her feminist attitude is revealed in large part by color imagery. “Red” is used in lines 55, 57, and 58 to express her independent lust, strength and power (archetypally, red symbolizes male strength, ex. Mars as the red planet). The lion-red queen emerging from all of the worker bees echoes the lines 82-84 of “Lady Lazarus,” in which Plath alludes to the Phoenix: “Out of the ash / I rise with my red hair / And I eat men like air.” Her allusion to the emerging “lion-red body” in line 55 accomplishes the same purpose. However, in the same line, Plath uses antithesis to assert her femininity as well -- “wings of glass” seems
to express her delicate nature in contrast with the power of the “lion.”

The final lines, lines 59 and 60, of the poem reveal more of her contempt towards Ted.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Analysis of Stings by Sylvia Plath." 20 Jun 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
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] 400 words
(1.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Analysis of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Essay - “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” ( The Bell Jar is a very complicated book that deals with very complex issues. There are numerous ways this book can be examined this paper will focus on analysis through the use of theories. There are a plethora of different theories that could be utilized to dissect this book this paper will focus on five. The first theory to be discussed is structuralism, this theory is composed of many different branches....   [tags: Sylvia Plath]
:: 10 Works Cited
2556 words
(7.3 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Essay on An Analysis of Sylvia Plath's Poem, Daddy - An Analysis of Sylvia Plath's Poem, Daddy Sylvia Plath's famous poem "Daddy" seems to refer quite consistently to her deceased father (and obliquely to her then estranged husband Ted Hughes) by use of many references that can clearly be associated with the background of Otto Plath, emphasizing his German heritage. These include the "Polish town" where Otto was born, the atrocities of the German Nazis in the Second World War ("Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen"), the "Luftwaffe," and even the professorial pose of Dr....   [tags: Sylvia Plath Daddy Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
796 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
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] 507 words
(1.4 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Sylvia Plath's Words for a Nursery Essays - Sylvia Plath's Words for a Nursery Sylvia Plath’s “Words for a Nursery” depicts the embodiment of life through the symbolism of a human hand. Referring to the hand many times throughout various works(“Mirrors”, “Tulips”, “Lady Lazarus”, etc), Plath continually portrays this feature as a bodily tool around which life functions. After becoming pregnant with her first child, Plath’s analysis of the progression of life from birth to death can be seen within such a poem. Like most of her poetry, “Words for a Nursery” escalates in a positive manner until the end where death is expressed, and a sense of pessimism is briefly felt....   [tags: Sylvia Plath Words Nursery Poetry Essays] 1761 words
(5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Sylvia Plath’s Mourning and Creativity Essay - Sylvia Plath’s Mourning and Creativity Abstract In this article, I concentrate on the connection between mourning and creativity in Sylvia Plath’s work. Melanie Klein postulates that the pain of mourning and the reparation experienced in the depressive position is the basis of creative activity. Through creative activity, one can restore lost internal and external objects and lost happiness. I argue that Plath’s work is an example of Klein’s idea that artists’ creative products represent the process of mourning....   [tags: Sylvia Plath]
:: 7 Works Cited
3662 words
(10.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Preparing for Death in Sylvia Plath's Daddy - Preparing for Death in Plath’s Daddy   Throughout the poem "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath, the author struggles to escape the memory of her father who died when she was only ten years old. She also expresses anger at her husband, Ted Hughes, who abandoned her for another woman. The confessional poem begins with a series of metaphors about Plath's father which progress from godlike to demonic. Near the end, a new metaphor emerges, when the author realizes that her estranged husband is actually the vampire of her dead father, sent to torture her....   [tags: Sylvia Plath Daddy]
:: 1 Works Cited
1420 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about Sylvia Plath's Lady Lazarus - Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazarus" In her poem, “Lady Lazarus,” Sylvia Plath uses dark imagery, disturbing diction, and allusions to shameful historical happenings to create a unique and morbid tone that reflects the necessity of life and death. Although the imagery and diction and allusions are all dark and dreary, it seems that the speaker’s attitude towards death is positive. The speaker longs for death, and despises the fact the she is continually raised up out of it. From the title, Plath gives us immediately the theme of the poem....   [tags: Sylvia Plath Lady Lazarus Essays] 1358 words
(3.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
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]
:: 15 Works Cited
2871 words
(8.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Sylvia Plath Essay - Sylvia Plath was a gifted writer, poet and verbal artist whose personal anguish and torment visibly manifested itself in her work. Much of her angst stems from her warped relationship with her father. Other factors that influenced her works were her strained views of human sexuality, her sado-masochistic tendencies, self-hatred and her traditional upbringing. She was labeled as a confessional poet and biographical and historical material is absolutely necessary to understand her work. Syliva Plath was born on 27, 1963, in Boston, Massachusetts to Otto Emil Plath and Aurelia Schober....   [tags: Sylvia Plath Biography Biographies Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
2097 words
(6 pages)
Term Papers [preview]

Related Searches

She is flying “Over the engine that killed her--- / the mausoleum, the wax house.” It is ambiguous whether the word “killed” was intentionally used as hyperbole, or whether Plath believed that she was like the Phoenix, and rose from the ashes. These lines seem to imply that, as something “more terrible than she ever was,” will be seeking revenge on Ted.

The bee motif, which spans the entire poem, reveals much about Plath’s message. As the queen bee in “Stings,” she is independent and resentful towards not only Ted but all of the other workers who die when stinging (females who “die” when sacrificing themselves for men), as well as contemptful of Ted for cheating on her (Ted is “the engine that killed her”). This is a very feminist attitude, an attitude so prevalent in Plath’s poetry that she has rightly been termed the “bitch goddess.”


Return to