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Sylvia Plath - Purdah

Jade --
Stone of the side,
The antagonized

Side of green Adam, I
Smile, cross-legged,
Enigmatical,

Shifting my clarities.
So valuable!
How the sun polishes this shoulder!

And should
The moon, my
Indefatigable cousin

Rise, with her cancerous pallors,
Dragging trees --
Little bushy polyps,

Little nets,
My visibilities hide.
I gleam like a mirror.

At this facet the bridegroom arrives
Lord of the mirrors!
It is himself he guides

In among these silk
Screens, these rustling appurtenances.
I breathe, and the mouth

Veil stirs its curtain
My eye
Veil is

A concatenation of rainbows.
I am his.
Even in his

Absence, I
Revolve in my
Sheath of impossibles,

Priceless and quiet
Among these parrakeets, macaws!
O chatterers

Attendants of the eyelash!
I shall unloose
One feather, like the peacock.

Attendants of the lip!
I shall unloose
One note

Shattering
The chandelier
Of air that all day flies

Its crystals
A million ignorants.
Attendants!

Attendants!
And at his next step
I shall unloose

I shall unloose --
From the small jeweled
Doll he guards like a heart --

The lioness,
The shriek in the bath,
The cloak of holes.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 1092 times | Comments and analysis of Purdah by Sylvia Plath Comments (1)

Purdah - Comments and Information

Poet: Sylvia Plath
Poem: Purdah
Volume: The Collected Poems
Year: Published/Written in 1962

Comment 1 of 1, added on November 19th, 2008 at 11:52 AM.

“Purdah” also demonstrates the recurrent pattern of rebirth motif of the heroine with the extinction of her husband who suppresses her true identity. In the beginning she seems to be passive and submissive, a mere object and assets of her husband coffer:
Jade –
The stone of the side,
The agonized

Side of a green Adam, I
Smile, crossed-legged,
Enigmatical,

Shifting my clarities.
So valueable.
How the sun polishes this shoulder!
The horror of the husband is so severe that even in his absence, she conceives her self to be relegated to him: “Even in his / Absence, I / Resolve in my / Sheath of impossibility.” However, the latent self within her unconscious needs action on her part and comes on to the surface of the water when she becomes aware of her true self, to kill her male counterpart as a lioness after casting off the meek image of a living doll.
In the presence of her husband, she feels that she is merely a reflecting object, which reflects only the thing that comes in its focus without any preconception, while her husband is the “Lord of the mirror.” She reflects what she is expected in the linear circle of traditional gender-biased society, but this is a partial truth of her existence she senses the diplomatic monopoly of male counterpart. Judith Kroll points out the dormant fury swimming in the deep puddle of mirror as “ she, only mirror, does not initially reveal her underlying true self but reflects her Sun-god, just as Moon reflects the Sun, her true self lying hidden behind the mirror of her false self, and the mirror thus acting as a sort of veil”( Kroll, 156).





rajani sharma from India

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