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Analysis and comments on Sow by Sylvia Plath

Comment 10 of 10, added on May 15th, 2012 at 8:46 AM.
This poem

Does it matter what this poem conveys? The fact that it has meant so many
different things to different people shows how much power it has! This poem
has managed to make you all have your own interpretation! It evidently does
not only mean one thing - it means what ever you interpret it to mean.

M. x from United Kingdom
Comment 9 of 10, added on November 20th, 2009 at 12:20 PM.

This poem definitely contains a message. Sylvia Plath's poems almost always
contain a message and it is ridiculous to asssume that there is no meaning
in any of them without extensive research on the poem. At the very least,
the emotions that she exerts through her work is worth mentioning as a
theme.

Kelsey from United States
Comment 8 of 10, added on May 6th, 2009 at 10:12 PM.

I honestly think there are some poems with absolutely NO hidden meanings...
this would be one of them.

Bella from United States
Comment 7 of 10, added on April 22nd, 2009 at 3:42 AM.

When looking at any piece of literature, one must be careful not to bring
their own emotions and opinions into the work. I believe this is the
largest obstacle any critical reader must overcome. Sylvia Plath is an
excellent example of one writer many people mistakenly intepret, mostly
because she is probably one of the most difficult authors to understand.
For example, her poem \"Mirror\" is about the effects of aging and her
piece "Metaphors" is simply an allusionary reference to pregnancy. Neither
poem is about feminism, or dealing with the burden of parenthood as many
people attempt to assert. The poem simply does not support this. Likewise,
this poem "Sow" is not about obese people or jealousy; Plath the wrote this
poem with the underlying theme of pregnancy and lethargy--a matter which
was close to Plath's own heart and reverberates through many of her works.
First of all, the central action of the poem is simply a neighbor who is
excitedly making the journey to see their neighbors enormous, secret prized
hog. In the first half of the poem we see the hog from the speaker's view.
Through her use of diction and visual imagery, Plath sets the reader up in
an almost mythical atmosphere on the neighbors journey to see the sow. They
are led by lantern night on a dusky evening. The hogh itself is shrouded in
mystery and the "maze of barns" the speaker must travel to to glimpse it
further supports the mysterious tone. The speaker asserts that the hog is
so prized that it is not made for either motherhood, or food. A shift in
diction occurs in line 17. The words Plath chooses from here on no longer
support the mythical auro or awe-inspiring nature of the pig. It is
important that the negative diction used in the shift occurs as soon as
Plath begins to talk about motherhood--more specifically that the pig is
too important to have her bulk "shilled" with "feat-foot ninnies" begging
her for a "swig at [her] pink teats." However, despite the speaker's
assertion that the hog is far too important for this task, the reader draws
a much different conclusion. The hog's "brobdingnag bulk" is an allusion to
Jonathan's Swift classic, satirical attack of humanity, Gulliver's Travels.
In the novel the Brobdingnags are a group of giants nearly 10x the size of
the Swift's hero, Lemuel Gulliver. This reference helps the author
establish a larger-than-life image in the mind of the reader far more
effectively than using a word such as "huge" or "enormous" bulk. The "black
compost", "fat-rutted eyes" establish further negative connotations. The
hog's dream is about a boar who is "worthy" enough to mate her because the
marvelous beast was able to gore a knight on a battlefield. Yet, in the
back of the reader's mind we must establish that, most likely, the hog is
simply lazy and her "dream-filled" eyes are most likely the side effects of
the "seven troughed seas" the hog is used to ingesting every day.
Basically, we have what is referred to as an unreliable narrorator--or a
speaker whose point of view is a counterpoint to what the author wants the
reader to understand in a piece of literature.

Molly from United States
Comment 6 of 10, added on April 21st, 2009 at 8:36 PM.

When looking at any piece of literature, one must be careful not to bring
their own emotions and opinions into the work. Sylvia Plath is an
excellent example of one writer many people mistakenly intepret. For
example, her poem "Mirror" is about the effects of aging. It is not about
feminism, or life in anyway.

Molly from United States
Comment 5 of 10, added on March 23rd, 2009 at 2:12 PM.

Perhaps the best poem Plath ever wrote. In terza rima and divided in two
with the word, "No," exactly between the halves. A veritable legendary sow,
discussed in mythological allusions and terms, and yet ... Would it make a
difference if the poem was called "Wife" instead?

Ralph Mohr from United States
Comment 4 of 10, added on December 6th, 2008 at 11:35 AM.

You all are imbeciles. This poem is not about any of the nonsense you've
insisted it to be. It's symbolic of Plath's jealousy. That theme obviously
pervades the entire poem. The tercets drip with each moment Plath
paradoxically dehumanizes the pig as something silly and simply pretty to
look at. She has been used beyond her purposes for now she truly serves
none. It's a social satire on the jealousy Plath herself feels for the
farmer's wife and even the sow to some extent for being a pampered being.

Fat women....what are you smoking?

dj from France
Comment 3 of 10, added on March 3rd, 2008 at 3:14 AM.

you guys are both terrible. . this poem is about the beauty of fat people
and how looks are not what we should look for in friends. I love fat women

Mike Hawk from United States
Comment 2 of 10, added on February 3rd, 2006 at 6:33 AM.

made you cry? its not about life. its about a big and how monumentous it
is. also if you didnt notice, the big has a dream that a night comes along
and the boar wins the fight, thus they have sex. that made you cry too?
interesting. Personally, it made me laugh.

morgan from United States
Comment 1 of 10, added on May 3rd, 2005 at 10:35 AM.

i love this poem it reminds me of something of life it made me cry when i
first read this poem my friend rihtgs poem she loves your poems

nia dillard from United States

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Information about Sow

Poet: Sylvia Plath
Poem: Sow
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 2110 times


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