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Poetry Review - Essay Example

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In Sylvia Plath’s poem “Tulips”, which first appeared in Ariel, the author describes her metaphysical journey experienced during a stay at a hospital. Written in 1961 when Plath was admitted to the hospital for an appendectomy, the speaker of the poem is the hospital…
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Poetry Review
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Download file to see previous pages The language used moves in a melodious iambic meter, both lulling us to drift with the speaker and awakening us to the paces of life. The first stanza uses repetition and alliteration to help soothe us into the quiet world of the hospital ward even as the tulips are seen to be a rude interruption into this world. Repeated whispers keep the tone quiet: “how white … how quiet, how snowed-in” (2) and the soothing sound of the ‘th’ letter combination continue in “this bed, these hands” (4). The speaker is “learning” and “lying” (3), the “light lies” on “white walls” (Dickie, 1979), giving us a pattern of movement that is rocking on rhythm.
As she wakes up, though, focus on the bright red of the tulips forces a quickening pace that is also reflected in the language. Things are “coming and going” (51), “the air snags and eddies” (54) and the tulips “concentrate my attention” (55). The tulips are filling the air “like a loud noise” (52). It is mostly due to this quickening pace toward life leading into the end of the poem that we are led to believe the poem is an affirmation of life, even though the tone remains as emotionless and detached as it first began.
In “The Fish,” Elizabeth Bishop describes the perfect catch of a venerable old fish as she observes him hanging from her line. The fish hasn’t fought at all to prevent being reeled in and his skin hangs in strips “like ancient wallpaper” (11), the pattern reminding her of “full-blown roses / stained and lost through age” (14-15). These images conjure up thoughts of the family home, old and empty now that the children are grown and gone, maintenance no longer a priority in this advanced age.
The fish is coated with barnacles, lime and sea-lice, with strings of seaweed attached to his underside. Through this ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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