2013 - “Plath’s provocative imagery serves to highlight the intense emotions expressed in her poetry.”
Plath’s poetry can be shocking to read, at first. This is largely due to her choice of provocative imagery and the depth of intense emotion felt and expressed through her poetry. She looks at dizzying highs and terrifying lows in terms of her own mental health, all the while using captivating and provocative imagery to express her intense emotions. I fell the best poem to illustrate this are “Morning Song”, “Child”, “Poppies In July”, “Mirror” and “The Arrival Of The Bee Box”. I found myself captivated by all her work, as she bared her soul to the public. Such honesty, coupled with her provocative imagery, must be respected.
In the poem “Morning Song”, Plath examines and comes to terms with the mix of feelings she experiences as a new mother. It examines her struggle to come to terms with being a mother, having only recently miscarried. The poem opens on the image of “a fat gold watch”. This image provokes many thoughts in the readers mind, it can be seen as a sort of reward for her 9 months of service, bringing this baby into the world. It can also be seen as a simile for the precious heartbeat of her newborn baby, set going by the love and affection she has for the baby. This imagery allows us to feel the love and natural instincts that Plath feels as a mother, despite her despair. However, in the same stanza, Plath makes use of harsh imagery, “the midwife slapped your footsoles” to portray the cold and harsh world that Plath felt she was bringing her newborn into.
Plath later describes her baby as a “new statue… in a drafty museum.”, which is a difficult image to comprehend, but can be portrayed to show her disconnection from the baby, that Plath doesn’t immediately feel motherly, and is underwhelmed by the birth of her child. It’s almost like she doesn’t have a warm fuzzy sensation in her heart, due to the arrival of her baby.
Her lack of connection to her baby is also expressed through a great memorable image: “I am no more your mother Than the cloud that distills the mirror to reflect its own slow effacement at the wind’s hand.” The baby is like a puddle made by the mother, the cloud. The puddle reflects the cloud in the same way the baby and mother are alike. But now that the baby is born the cloud is blown away.
We see after, when Plath appears to be home, that the atmosphere of the poem is much warmer and loving. We see this through the “flat pink roses” suggesting wallpaper in her home. We see Plath settling into motherhood at this point, as she listens out for the tender “moth-breath” during the night. The far sea she hears, shows us the ease that Plath is beginning to feel, as this image is one of a calming nature.
The moment that the child begins to cry, the poet gets up to feed it. She rushes to feed her child, comparing herself to a cow that needs to be milked. The image of herself as “cow-heavy” introduces a light-heartedness to...