Unveiling What Is Behind Sylvia Plath’s “Metaphors”
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According to Webster’s New American Edition Dictionary a metaphor is a figure of speech which makes an implied comparison between things which are not literally alike (“metaphor”). We use metaphors constantly to more accurately relay our thoughts and feelings to others by using what is familiar to describe something that may be new or confusing. They often help create a visual image or evoke emotions that adjectives alone cannot.
Sylvia Plath’s poem “Metaphors” consists entirely of what its title suggests: metaphors. This leaves the reader with the duty of discovering what meaning lies beneath these metaphors and what Plath is using them to describe. The many metaphors may seem unrelated and confusing unless one closely inspects the details that reveal their similarities. She never clearly states what she is alluding to, but with examination of this poem, it is possible to conclude that Plath is describing her pregnancy. With the knowledge of what the metaphors depict, we can explore below the surface of the poem and discover what lies much deeper. We know Plath is trying to explicate her new thoughts and experiences as a pregnant woman with the use of metaphors, but how does she really feel about this pregnancy? Plath’s metaphorical choices reveal that she believes her pregnancy has consumed her identity leaving her as nothing more than the embodiment for a developing child. She sees no beauty or miracle in her pregnancy. Rather, it seems that she feels she is fulfilling a duteous task or obligation. Knowing she has no control of the changes her body is experiencing, she surrenders to the pregnancy and does no more than acknowledge the responsibilities that come with it.
One fascinating aspect of “Metaphors” is that its structural foundation is based on the number nine. Not only is the poem nine lines long, but each of those lines consist of nine syllables. Plath even presents herself to be “a...
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