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Analysis and comments on Morning Song by Sylvia Plath

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Comment 22 of 142, added on May 29th, 2009 at 1:13 AM.

This poem raises a concept that emerged largely after WWII: That numbness
can be an emotion. In other words, this poem is not so much emotionless,
despite Plath's evident numbness due to shock and anxiety.

"We stand 'round blankly as walls." ~ Blank walls are ready to have
something new written on them.

"The cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own/ slow/ Effacement at
the wind's hand." This is analogical of her life and how she sees her baby.

Carly from Australia
Comment 21 of 142, added on November 20th, 2008 at 1:24 PM.

The poem “Morning Song,” deals with the ambivalent feeling of a woman in
her new role as a mother. Undoubtedly, the baby is a part of her life, but
she feels her infant stranger and foreign as the very first image of the
conception of the baby reveals. Since the mother claims that love has
caused the baby’s arrival in this elemental world, she suggests the
mechanical sexual union between her and baby’s father as he does not appear
anywhere except in the reminiscences of the mother. She says, “Love set you
going like a fat gold watch.” It also reveals her hidden desire to own the
child who belongs to the father’s clan and not to hers. Once biologically
freed from its own mother with the severance of placenta, the baby acquires
its autonomy and different individuality. Here the midwife, by slapping the
newborn baby’s foot soles, has placed it in the atmospheric elemental world
where it will also be socialized by patriarchal notions.

In the second stanza, the child, being compared to “new statue” located
carefully in a “drafty museum,”-- a place for dead and stiffed things, not
in the cozy home, suggests the vulnerability of the mother regarding her
small child. She is scared of the wintry season, which may cause harm to
her dear one. Here the double bind situation of mother causing emotional
and psychic poignancy has been revealed. On the one hand, she feels that it
is cold as a statue in the museum that requires no comfort and as she looks
at its nakedness, she becomes vulnerable for its safety on the other as she
says, “Your nakedness / Shadows our safety.”
In the third stanza, the woman tears off the imposed mask of motherhood by
comparing herself with the floating clouds in the sky broken in rain to
became a mirror lake, which reflects the gradual disappearing of the clouds
at wind’s hand. Although she has delivered the baby as a cloud produces
rain, which in turn becomes a mirror-lake to reflect the extinction of
cloud with the gust of the wind. She does not want to be credited with the
honor of being a mother and identifies herself with the floating clouds,
free to move in the open sky and to break themselves in rain at their own
whim. The wind is suggestive of the primeval energy pushing her to see her
real self in the mirror lake by dissolving her stereotypical image of
Virgin Mary feeding her baby Christ.
I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.
In the next stanza, the setting is changed from the museum to the bedroom
where the baby is sleeping, but the mother cannot sleep because of her
caring nature. The breath of the baby is expressed as moth breath; this
comparison gives an idea of the speed and regularity of the baby’s as it
sleeps. As moths are characterized by the fast and constant movement of
their wings and are nocturnal insects. In the next stanza, the setting is
changed from the museum to the bedroom where the baby is the mother cannot
sleep because of her caring nature. The breath of the baby is expressed as
moth breath; this comparison gives an idea of the speed and regularity of
the baby as it sleeps. As moths are characterized by the fast and constant
movement of their wings and are nocturnal insects. This image of the
nocturnal insect in connection to the baby’s breath reminds the
vulnerability of a fragile female in the gothic horror movies where the
demonic spirit enters the body of someone to execute his monstrous and
atrocious intention. Now the mother is the victim of her own baby who
flickers under her blanket with pink roses decorated on it. Since the
mother cannot sleep, she listens to the upheavals of the rising and falling
of sea waves suggestive of the inner turmoil to resent everything
pertaining to this mundane routine life in this gender-biased world, but in
the meantime the child begins to weep and the mother stumbles from her bed
and rushes immediately in order to her infant feed it. This act of feeding
reveals the closeness; however, the distance enters almost immediately as
the mother refers to the baby’s mouth by comparing it to a kitten, a well
symbol of autonomy, shrewdness, and clumsiness. The characteristic mother’s
state is of alert. The mother’s gown and her doings suggest the sluggish
domestic life of woman reflected by composed term “cow-heavy” and
“Victorian nightgown.” The very gown reminds us of the oppression of women
in domestic life.
In the final stanza the mother notices that morning is approaching: “The
window square / Whitens and swallows its dull stars.” The morning is
symbolic of the rebirth of the female self as the mother now assimilates
the power of Sun in her very being and becomes the light to swallow all
darkness and dull stars. The implication is that now she has realized her
true self and looks beyond the four walls of the house at the rising sun, a
potent symbol of power. The sounds produced ees, oohs and ahss do not come
in the ear of the mother but “ rise like balloons” in the sky.





rajani sharma (research scholar) from India
Comment 20 of 142, added on November 20th, 2008 at 1:24 PM.

The poem “Morning Song,” deals with the ambivalent feeling of a woman in
her new role as a mother. Undoubtedly, the baby is a part of her life, but
she feels her infant stranger and foreign as the very first image of the
conception of the baby reveals. Since the mother claims that love has
caused the baby’s arrival in this elemental world, she suggests the
mechanical sexual union between her and baby’s father as he does not appear
anywhere except in the reminiscences of the mother. She says, “Love set you
going like a fat gold watch.” It also reveals her hidden desire to own the
child who belongs to the father’s clan and not to hers. Once biologically
freed from its own mother with the severance of placenta, the baby acquires
its autonomy and different individuality. Here the midwife, by slapping the
newborn baby’s foot soles, has placed it in the atmospheric elemental world
where it will also be socialized by patriarchal notions.

In the second stanza, the child, being compared to “new statue” located
carefully in a “drafty museum,”-- a place for dead and stiffed things, not
in the cozy home, suggests the vulnerability of the mother regarding her
small child. She is scared of the wintry season, which may cause harm to
her dear one. Here the double bind situation of mother causing emotional
and psychic poignancy has been revealed. On the one hand, she feels that it
is cold as a statue in the museum that requires no comfort and as she looks
at its nakedness, she becomes vulnerable for its safety on the other as she
says, “Your nakedness / Shadows our safety.”
In the third stanza, the woman tears off the imposed mask of motherhood by
comparing herself with the floating clouds in the sky broken in rain to
became a mirror lake, which reflects the gradual disappearing of the clouds
at wind’s hand. Although she has delivered the baby as a cloud produces
rain, which in turn becomes a mirror-lake to reflect the extinction of
cloud with the gust of the wind. She does not want to be credited with the
honor of being a mother and identifies herself with the floating clouds,
free to move in the open sky and to break themselves in rain at their own
whim. The wind is suggestive of the primeval energy pushing her to see her
real self in the mirror lake by dissolving her stereotypical image of
Virgin Mary feeding her baby Christ.
I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.
In the next stanza, the setting is changed from the museum to the bedroom
where the baby is sleeping, but the mother cannot sleep because of her
caring nature. The breath of the baby is expressed as moth breath; this
comparison gives an idea of the speed and regularity of the baby’s as it
sleeps. As moths are characterized by the fast and constant movement of
their wings and are nocturnal insects. In the next stanza, the setting is
changed from the museum to the bedroom where the baby is the mother cannot
sleep because of her caring nature. The breath of the baby is expressed as
moth breath; this comparison gives an idea of the speed and regularity of
the baby as it sleeps. As moths are characterized by the fast and constant
movement of their wings and are nocturnal insects. This image of the
nocturnal insect in connection to the baby’s breath reminds the
vulnerability of a fragile female in the gothic horror movies where the
demonic spirit enters the body of someone to execute his monstrous and
atrocious intention. Now the mother is the victim of her own baby who
flickers under her blanket with pink roses decorated on it. Since the
mother cannot sleep, she listens to the upheavals of the rising and falling
of sea waves suggestive of the inner turmoil to resent everything
pertaining to this mundane routine life in this gender-biased world, but in
the meantime the child begins to weep and the mother stumbles from her bed
and rushes immediately in order to her infant feed it. This act of feeding
reveals the closeness; however, the distance enters almost immediately as
the mother refers to the baby’s mouth by comparing it to a kitten, a well
symbol of autonomy, shrewdness, and clumsiness. The characteristic mother’s
state is of alert. The mother’s gown and her doings suggest the sluggish
domestic life of woman reflected by composed term “cow-heavy” and
“Victorian nightgown.” The very gown reminds us of the oppression of women
in domestic life.
In the final stanza the mother notices that morning is approaching: “The
window square / Whitens and swallows its dull stars.” The morning is
symbolic of the rebirth of the female self as the mother now assimilates
the power of Sun in her very being and becomes the light to swallow all
darkness and dull stars. The implication is that now she has realized her
true self and looks beyond the four walls of the house at the rising sun, a
potent symbol of power. The sounds produced ees, oohs and ahss do not come
in the ear of the mother but “ rise like balloons” in the sky.





rajani sharma from India
Comment 19 of 142, added on September 21st, 2007 at 10:20 AM.

I believe that this mother was anxious about her newborn child like all
other women are.She certainly loves her child but is not able yet to cope
with its behaviour.Plath uses fine images in order to show as this love.

Zoe from Greece
Comment 18 of 142, added on May 20th, 2007 at 3:03 AM.

I don't think in Lady Lazarus she actually thought of herself like that
because if you read it closely it's written with a very ironic tone and she
is mocking "Herr [Mr.] Doktor".

I quite liked the poem, it began with the word love and ended with the
feeling of love.

S. Langor from Australia
Comment 17 of 142, added on April 11th, 2007 at 9:54 PM.

In my opinion the poet is looking at the arrival of her baby on a different
level. That of what happens to a room, house or person when a new object
appears. I don't think this poem is necessarily about Platt's emotions
toward the child but more about the presence of the child itself. I think
she removes herself emotionally on purpose to simply observe the changes in
the household. Like how a wall or house might view the arrival of the baby.

Amy from Canada
Comment 16 of 142, added on February 27th, 2007 at 6:07 AM.

I am sorry if anyone is offended by this but Sylvia Plath was a very
selfish woman. She didn't care for others, the fact that she so desperately
wanted to commit suicide portrays this, she didn't care about the effect
her death would have on her children or anyone else. In a sense, she had
the same views as her father apparently had (although she is so very
pesimistic that I wouldn't fully believe everything she says). In "Lady
Lazarus" she quotes, "I am your opus, I am your valuable, The pure gold
baby", she thinks that her father valued her purely as a possession but
yet, in Morning Song, she appears to view her own baby as an object, not a
living,breathing human.

Matt from Australia
Comment 15 of 142, added on May 4th, 2006 at 10:36 AM.

after reading this poem i believe we can find more than one meaning or
layer of meaning. the poem its may talk about motherhood a how this afects
the ambigious thoughts and feelings women have after giving birth to a
child. yet i think it has to do with the idea of giving birth but not only
to a child but birth in a more symbolic or metaphoric sense. perhaps the
idea of birth is used as the idea of creation of something new in our lives
that changes how things were and makes us feel uneasy and frightened.

ro from Uruguay
Comment 14 of 142, added on March 24th, 2006 at 6:04 PM.

we shouldn't automatically assume that the speaker of the poem is actually
the poet, so her own destiny has nothing to do with the poem itself.
She describes her baby in the most unflattering expressions using words
with negative connotations: “moth-breath and “mouth opens clean as a
cat’s.” The poem is a bit ironic, as it portrays motherhood differently
from what is considered traditional. Every woman’s main purpose in life is
to give birth to a descendant. In the poem, however, the mother does not
cherish her round forms and instead calls herself “cow-heavy.” On the
outside, she is a typical woman who just begat a child: in a floral
Victorian nightgown rushing to the cradle when hears a cry. On the inside,
she mentally tries to escape from the situation. She looks out of the
window but nothing pleases her eyes, even the stars are dull. She feels
devoured by her burden, as the night is devoured by day.

Liana from Ukraine
Comment 13 of 142, added on December 30th, 2005 at 4:38 AM.

ı think this poem was written when she had perplexed feelings about
her baby.She was in dilemma whether to be happy or sad.she even doesn't
know how should be his manner towards the newborn baby so we do not really
critisize her poem.but ı can say that all mother feel confused shotly
after the birth and s.plath also feel this and give it in morning song....

zeynep demir from Turkey

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Information about Morning Song

Poet: Sylvia Plath
Poem: Morning Song
Volume: The Collected Poems
Year: 1961
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 636 times
Poem of the Day: Jul 11 2006


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