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Comment 2 of 10, added on June 7th, 2010 at 6:58 AM.
Letter in November is a love poem. Anne Stevenson in her biography suggests
that this was possibly written with Alvarez in mind, as a sign of her
newfound independene. Personally, the warm colours 'the beautiful red'
certainly suggest the love and warmth Plath feels towards her home (in
Court Green, Devon at this time). This may imply that Plath is in love with
her domestic life: 'its tawn silk grasses- babies hair' is a reference to
Plath as a mother, and 'I love them' explains the simple, natural, and
perhaps even maternal love that is felt here. The first three stanzas are
particularly touching with happy assertions, 'I am so stupidly happy.'
Juxtaposing this strongly in the fourth stanza is the 'barbarous
holly...viridian Sacllops, pure iron.'which is suggesting that Plath is not
only guarding her property like a guard dog 'I pace it, sniffing', but that
intruders are by no means welcome. Bearing in mind the similar imagery she
uses in Spinster, 'and round her house she set/ such a barricade of barb
and check...as no mere insurgent man could hope to break', it is likely
that the barricade in 'Letter in NOvember' is to ward of men. Given the
context of when the poem was written, it is likely that this figure is Ted
Hughes. 'O love, O celibate./nobody but me walks the waist high wet' is
perhaps sarcastic, (since Hughes was by no means celibate!) but indicates
that Plath has accepted, and is perhaps even proud of her independence. The
reference to Thermopylae is an allusion to the 300 Spartans in classical
mythology, thus inferring that Plath is intent on defending her property,
even if defeat is certain.
A fantastic poem, filled with creative and beautiful images. Before writing
Plath off as a 'druggie' please appreciate her metaphorical way of writing
and the depth required to achieve this.
Mim from United Kingdom
Comment 1 of 10, added on February 19th, 2009 at 8:00 PM.
this peom sounds like she is on drugs...
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