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Analysis and comments on The Bee Meeting by Sylvia Plath

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Comment 13 of 33, added on December 1st, 2009 at 7:45 PM.

Say if a swarm of bees all clustered together in mid-air to form some kind
of shape, say a heart, you could see clearly that its supposed to be a
heart. The outline may not be distinct, but it is still a heart. Within
that heart you can thousands of individuals "butcher" "mid-wife" "baker"
etc., but there is a generalization, a common among the bees that she is
not a part of. The idea of being unprepared, looked at clearly in the first
two stanzas put you in mind of an inquisitive youth facing the
embarrassment of not turning up to a birthday party in the right "smock",
and wondering "why did nooone tell me?" This supports my idea well.

Furthering this vast concept of the bees being a generalistion of a
microcosm, there is an immense pressure on Plath, or "The Queen". It is
similar to tip=toeing through a group of sleeping lions. Her painstaking
emotion might upset them, and wake them, and the consequence is dire. In
terms of bees this is subtly more threatening, because they are benign.
Humming along like a cloud of recpetion around Plath, as soon as she breaks
down she causes an environmental change - the bees will be upset and sting

This has so many links. It links to advice being given as a young child
when approaching bees. It links to her feelings about her family and
friends, and the pressure shes under making her feel "hunted" and enduring
being thought "ungrateful" in her remorse. The "exhausted, I'm exhausted"
at the end shows the emotional effort and the "magicians girl" summs up the
image well - that it is all one big charade.

Plath often uses "concepts" like this. Look at Full Fathom Five and The

I'm only 17, be kind!

Jonathan from United Kingdom
Comment 12 of 33, added on March 2nd, 2009 at 2:04 PM.

reading this poem most of you have come to some conclusion that it is about
a cult or the kkk for that matter. but, i do think that the poem is related
to plath's father and many people believe that plath started to experience
problems involving her saninity after her father died of diebetes when
plath was 9. so not only do i think this poem has a connection to her dad i
also think it has a link to her sanity
'buttoning the cuffs at my wrists and the slit from my neck to my
a gown worn in a hospital?
'is it some operation that is taking place?
is it the surgeon my neighbors are waiting for'
could this be when the crowd gathered around the hive to look inside
takiing the lid off or is it the first time plath went into hospital to be
treated for shock therapy?

rachel from United Kingdom
Comment 11 of 33, added on May 20th, 2008 at 12:25 PM.

I read the poem as a metaphor for female circumsision. The language is
charged with sexual metaphors, and violence.

Maureen Jivani from United Kingdom
Comment 10 of 33, added on April 6th, 2008 at 12:50 PM.

I'm a beekeeper so let me shine some light on some confusion. As everyone
comes to show her the apairy she's worried that no one has brought her
protection. The bee suits hides everyone's identity and no matter the
roles people they become one. As the beekeepers look into the hives she's
wondering why they're looking. She's understandable worried that the bees
can smell her fear and might sting her. Beekeepers will always look for
the queen, sign of a healthy hive, and are seeing queen cells. Only 1
queen can be in a hive and will kill other potential candidates. In
spring, the hive will produce other queens to swarm and beekeepers will
take away queen cells in hopes of controlling swarming. I think she is
exhausted from her experience and then is wondering the what mystery's lie
in the hive (white box). Of course, I could be wrong, but I enjoyed it and
can relate to the experience.

Sandy from United States
Comment 9 of 33, added on August 27th, 2007 at 11:28 PM.

This is one of the only poems that i truly love. I can relate to it so
easily that its scary. The only cult in this poem is society in general
(hence the referece to a broad range of usually benevolent figures-- the
rector, midwife, and sexton). I could talk on it for hours but I will not
take up that much of everyone's time.

Ashley from United States
Comment 8 of 33, added on May 27th, 2007 at 8:35 PM.

perhaps I am being simple minded and perhaps my explaination is vague but
what I have interpreted by reading "the bee meeting" and considering the
era which it was written, I believe that there are several references to a
"cult", that being the KKK. i am in no way a supporter or sympathizer,
just my interpretation

Matthew from United States
Comment 7 of 33, added on April 23rd, 2007 at 11:17 AM.

There is a typo in line twenty. The word should be voices.

Mona from United States
Comment 6 of 33, added on March 19th, 2007 at 7:12 PM.

I'm not the best at analyzing poems, however, since I read the Bell Jar I
was wondering whether "The Bee Meeting" would be referring to Sylvia Plath
in the mental hospital, or any hospitale for that matter. For example,
"Buttoning the cuffs at my wrists and the slit from my neck to my
knees."-that would be a nurse helping her into her hospital gown.

Sonia from United States
Comment 5 of 33, added on January 12th, 2006 at 6:51 AM.

i am having difficulty with understanding thel poem also, is it about a
cult? i dont think so, its obvioiusly about death and suicide as is all her
poems but why does she feel the need to diguise it.

kelly from United Kingdom
Comment 4 of 33, added on September 27th, 2005 at 1:56 PM.

This poem was part of a series of three or four that Sylvia wrote to close
Ariel. Her father was an insect specialist, a professor, so, in a way,
these poems are closely connected to "Daddy" and the suicidal ideation and
death imagery of the other Ariel poems. She did keep a hive, and it was a
way of connecting back to her father, picking up his interests--the same
way she attempted to learn German. I think, if you read the series
together, it might make more sense?

Sam from United States

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Information about The Bee Meeting

Poet: Sylvia Plath
Poem: The Bee Meeting
Volume: The Collected Poems
Year: 1962
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 21822 times
Poem of the Day: Sep 1 2005

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