Ariel By Sylvia Plath Analysis

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“Ariel” Sylvia Plath’s Ariel is one of the most renowned collections of poetry from the twentieth century. These poems were written during the last years of Plath’s life before she committed suicide and gives us a unique insight into the inner workings of her mind. Her estranged husband and fellow poet, Ted Hughes, published Ariel in 1965 after Plath’s suicide. In these poems Plath transcends to become her true self; the tone is cool, amused, bitter, and unnervingly charming. This collection is completely personal and confessional with a slight side of madness, knowing that the poems came from her last days give a haunting feeling to every line. With Ariel, Plath embodies the ideals of modernism without ever losing sight of herself and that …show more content…
For a poem that is about mother and child there seems to be no maternal feelings or tone to the poem. Instead, there is a strange feeling of separation and emotional estrangement. From the opening line, “Love set you going like a fat gold watch”, Plath compares the baby, animate, to an inanimate watch; from this simile we get a separation between the act of love and the actual baby. It takes something we see as natural and turns it into something unsettling and new, giving a disorienting effect to motherhood. The separation between mother and child is furthered in the third stanza “I’m no more your mother/ Than the cloud that distils a mirror to reflect its own slow/ Effacement as the wind’s hand” these lines seem emotionless and detached. However, in the last three stanzas the alienation shifts, “One cry, and I stumble from bed”, and Plath is instinctively listening to the sound of her baby as it sleeps. Surreal images and comparisons help emphasize the sense of strangeness and alienation that new mothers often feel, because it takes time to come into motherhood and Plath is brutally honest about this. “Morning Song” sets the stage for the rest of Ariel as being harshly honest and completely …show more content…
“Birthday Present” was written in 1962, six months before Plath’s death as a final decision to what she would do. It is as if the poem is Plath convincing herself this is the best thing for her and is the right thing to do. “What is this, behind this veil, is it ugly, is it beautiful? / It is shimmering, has it breasts, has it edges?” up until now the “veil” that hides what is beyond death has caused some uncertainty but now her mind is made up no matter if it is ugly or beautiful “I am sure it is unique, I am sure it is just what I want.” In the next few lines Plath mocks her perfectionism and for not seeing that death has been waiting all along. The title is aptly named because she sees this act as a gift to herself and she is assuring herself of that it is right. Then there is a sudden shift in the poem and the veils are no longer hiding what is beyond death but what life has to offer and since she feels she is killing herself anyways she should just do it all at once “Is it impossible for you to let something go and have it whole? / Must you stamp each piece in purple, / Must you kill what you can? / There is this one thing I want today, and only you can give it to me.” “Birthday Present” is one of the rawest, heartbreaking of Plath’s

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