Sylvia Plath Metaphors

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In the first line of her poem "Metaphors", Sylvia Plath declares herself a "riddle in nine syllables", one of several references to the number nine in the poem (1). Some such references include the nine line length of the poem, nine letter long title, and nine syllable length of each line. These structural choices, with the description of herself as "a cow in calf", indicate that Plath’s intended topic is her own pregnancy (7). Plath litters her poem with hints that her pregnancy was more for those around her than for herself, which left her feeling bulky, fragile, and outshone by her unborn child. Plath uses several different metaphors to express her perceived fragility and bulkiness. Comparing herself to "an elephant", "a ponderous house", and "a melon", Plath expresses her feeling of cumbersomeness because of her pregnancy, while the personification of the melon as "strolling on two tendrils" hints at her state of mental fragility, that she is as mentally incapable of supporting her child as tendrils are of supporting a melon (2-3). When Plath compares herself to a loaf of bread, "big with its yeasty rising", she is again reinforcing the references to her feeling increasingly burly as her pregnancy progressed…show more content…
This motif of exploitation was first introduced through Plath’s use of synecdoche after comparing herself to an elephant, house, and melon, when she exclaims the virtues of "red fruit", "ivory", and "fine timbers" (4). Each of those objects is but a single aspect of the objects Plath compared herself to, which Plath uses to show that those around her become more interested in her unborn child than in Plath herself. This motif is stated clearly in the next line, when she declares herself a "means"
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