Sylvia Plath Poetry Analysis

1757 Words8 Pages
There are a multitude of techniques used by poets to make their poetry both pithy and complex. Due to the limitations of certain poetic forms, poets may be forced to use the devices of meter and blunt diction to accurately express their sentiments. Some poets may choose to use allusions to relate a number of scenarios to a certain theme, utilizing the historical context of these scenarios as further material for interpretation. Other poets may choose to the opposite approach to economy, intentionally writing little but carefully using diction and metaphor to allow the reader to “say a lot” by interpreting the work in a number of different ways. The poets John Keats, W.H. Auden, and Sylvia Plath all use these techniques in their poetry, with…show more content…
Once she directs readers to her desired outlook, she broadens the situation to the point of abstraction. In “The Eye-mote”, she utilizes this abstraction by saying “What I want back is what I was… / A place, a time gone out of mind” (Plath 25, 30). This idea, while still relatable to the original situation of the poem, is applicable to a number of other scenarios. By leaving her poems open-ended, Plath forces the reader to project their own interpretation onto her work. Much of the possibility for interpretation comes from Plath’s specific choice of diction, often choosing words and puns that relate to both the original scenario and the larger themes of the poem. For example, in “The Beekeeper’s Daughter” Plath writes “Father, bridegroom, … / The queen bee marries the winter of your year” (Plath 19, 21). Here, the use of the word “marries” references both her description of her father as a bridegroom and Plath’s persisting feelings of being ”married to” his death (because of its lasting effect on her). This kind of economy is used throughout “The Beekeeper’s Daughter” and Plath’s other poetry to tie in her original scenario to other possible themes, overall allowing more room for the reader to interpret. Through this specific choice of diction and shifts in tone from specific to broad, Plath is able to efficiently evoke the emotions she desires the reader to have while also allowing the reader to include…show more content…
This occurs more frequently in Keats’ odes, where he expands on a theme introduced by a singular object or idea. For example, in the final stanza of “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, Keats addresses the urn by saying “Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought / As doth eternity… When old age shall this generation waste, / Thou shalt remain” (Keats 44-47). This is where Keats’ use of extended metaphor for efficiency differs from Plath’s. Whereas Plath begins with a situation and expands on it, allowing the reader to add their own interpretation, Keats narrows in on the situation until he reaches an explicit point in his poetry where he succinctly states the main idea. In “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, this theme is the idea that the urn allows Keats to delve into his imagination and forget his inevitable mortality as opposed to the immortality of the urn. Once the reader reaches the end of the poem, they have a clear understanding of what Keats’ metaphorical commentary is on the urn. In this sense, Keats’ economy is similar to Auden’s in that they both directly indicate their intended message; the poetry says a lot in a small space, not the

More about Sylvia Plath Poetry Analysis

Open Document