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Sylvia Plath

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 06:28 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 53.8 
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Sylvia Plath: Consider how the poems dealing with Mother and Child convey a startling variety of


Although each of the poems in question (You’re, Morning Song, By Candlelight, Nick and the

Candlestick and Mary’s Song) focuses on the relationship between mother and child, the emotions

dealt with in each poem vary quite incredibly.   Each poem appears differently on the page: You’re

and By Candlelight are written in nine-line stanzas, the two poems having two and four respectively,

while Morning song, Nick and the Candlestick and Mary’s Song consist of six, fourteen and seven

stanzas, each of three lines.   It thus appears that Plath is using threes and sevens quite prolifically, as

every stanza is either three or nine lines long (9 = 3²) and multiples of seven occur twice in the total

number of stanzas in each poem.   Three and seven both seem to have a particular significance in life.

There are triunes in religion, (Father, Son, Holy Spirit,) science (energy, matter, ether,) spiritualism

(mind, body, spirit,) and psychiatry (superconscious, conscious, subconscious) to name but a few,

while nine is the number of months in a human pregnancy (divided into three trimesters).   Sevens

also occur frequently: there are seven cardinal virtues; seven deadly sins; seven ages of man; seven

days in a week and seven seals in the book of revelation.

Although the range of emotions is spread between the poems, they do seem to follow a linear

course as the sequence progresses.   You’re begins with the persona (whom we can assume to be an

expectant mother) talking to her foetus, and she believes that it is enjoying itself: “You’re/

Clownlike, happiest on your hands”.   This could be a reflection of her own sentiments, implying that

the mother to be is also contented.   She seems sure...


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