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Analysis and comments on Metaphors by Sylvia Plath

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Comment 44 of 474, added on November 23rd, 2009 at 7:41 AM.
Analysis of Metaphor

(1)"I'm a riddle in nine syllables"
means the period of pregnancy. for detailing,
nine syllables means 9 months which is the period of pregancy.
(2) "An elephant, a ponderous house"
'elephant' is speaker's body because she has baby.
'ponderous house' has two meanings.
- ponderous is same as elephant.
- house is baby's house. In other words, Women's womb
(3)A melon strolling on two tendrils.
A melon strolling means speaker's swollen belly.
two tendrils means speaker's thin two legs.
so this sentense shows fat of belly as compared with two legs

A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf's big with its yeasty rising.
Money's new-minted in this fat purse.
I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I've eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there's no getting off.

Eileen Kim from Korea, South
Comment 43 of 474, added on November 18th, 2009 at 3:44 PM.

to me this is an irritable poem. She's irritated by the stupid metaphors
and the pregnancy and almost recites them dismissively. The nine syllables
per line (one for each month) in nine lines truck along without resolution.
As a male this captures the grumpiness of women in their third trimester
when pregnancy is at its most annoying. To me its not unhappy its more
pissed off.

peter king from New Zealand
Comment 42 of 474, added on April 14th, 2009 at 4:32 PM.

I've eaten a bag of green apples, (8) /Boarded the train there's no
getting off (9). The apples symbolize another biblical allusion, not only
are green apples more sour but they symbolize Eve brining suffering upon
women with birth. In reference to the train Plath has obviously boarded a
train that she has no idea how to get off, because she knows little of how
to be a happy, normal, pregnant woman. She feels as if her pregnancy is
more plague than promising experience, as later evident when Plath kills
herself in the house with her children present.

Aly from United States
Comment 41 of 474, added on March 11th, 2009 at 4:44 PM.

This poem is definitely about how unhappy Plath was in the latter stages of
her pregnancy. Using terms like 'elephant' (think of Hemingway in Hills
Like White Elephants), 'ponderous house' and 'fat purse', Plath is
describing just how she feels. These metaphors, coupled with the 'bag of
green apples', which not only bloat you, but turn your stomach sour paint a
picture of a woman who feels dreadful. There is so much more to be
discovered in these nine simple lines, but suffice it to say that Plath
felt she had no control over her life at this point ('there's no getting
off') - and any woman who has been pregnant can understand that there comes
a point when you feel that you are merely a vessel for this 'red fruit'.
Plath was a desperately unhappy woman, and this is only too obvious in this

Susan from United States
Comment 40 of 474, added on March 5th, 2009 at 4:08 PM.

This is an awesome poem! What does it mean?....

aly from United States
Comment 39 of 474, added on February 9th, 2009 at 7:40 PM.

I had to read this poem and use it in an essay about Women's World. The
only part I got was that there was 9 lines with 9 syllables. Past that, I
was lost. Thanks for helping me out, cuz i needed it!!

Kimmie from United States
Comment 38 of 474, added on December 18th, 2008 at 12:25 PM.

I am a male, sort of,, and i have this poem taped right in front of my
toilet.. i read it every day while i am urnitating/giving stool samples.
it really puts things in perspective for me, i think the whole world should
read this poetry. its unique like the heart warming scent of turkey on
thanksgiving. this poetry really makes me want to writes poems. PLZ READ
it was a gloomy day
i kissed my husband to wish the gloom away
i was on the street, there was no room to stay in
but i was on my vacation

i hope you enjoy much!!!!

Josue from United States
Comment 37 of 474, added on December 9th, 2008 at 7:40 PM.

Whateves, you are close minded. You said you are an English major? Check
your grammar and spelling. I don't believe that you are. And I agree with
Hesperie 100%. Women do have mixed feelings during pregnancy. I do not
believe she was tottaly depressed when she wrote the poem.

Irina from United States
Comment 36 of 474, added on October 20th, 2008 at 12:44 PM.


I think you're being a bit close-minded. While it's true that Plath was
depressed throughout much of her life, I think this can be read a bit more
broadly than her misery. Every pregnant woman has mixed feelings throughout
the months they carry and even after: they're upset over their changing
body and the weight they're gaining, they're at once looking forward to and
wildly fearful of the future of their family, they agonize over how the
baby will change things...

I don't even think Plath was unequivocally miserable over her pregnancy.
While I agree with you that calling it joyful underestimates the complexity
of the poem, calling it gloomy does the same.

Hesperie from United States
Comment 35 of 474, added on July 6th, 2008 at 11:31 AM.

As an English Philology graduate, NO NO and again NO to those who think
this is a happy poem Plath wrote in a joyful manner. If you've ever read
Sylvia Plath's biography or any other works of her, you would know what
kind of a psychological state she was in throughout her life. I don't want
to go into details but i just wanna say that this poem actuall IS a gloomy
poem; she is not thrilled because she's pregnant, she does not think
pregnancy is miraculously wonderful and she does not 'humurously' hint that
there won't be sex for a while by saying she's boarded a train where
there's no getting off! Before ridiculing this sensational and sad poem to
wider lengths, i suggest everyone who are interested in this to read
Plath's biography (even online), go out and buy one of her books consisting
of her collected poems and then analyse this fragile yet mournful poem once
more. You can get help to understand profoundly by getting help from world
wide literature sites online or other literary works dedicated to Plath's
work from libraries or bookstores. In literature, there is never a simple
definition to any symbol or metaphor in a poem or novel. You can't imagine
what kind of depth and how many meanings a simple word can have in itself.

Salut to those literature lovers :)

whateves from Turkey

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Information about Metaphors

Poet: Sylvia Plath
Poem: Metaphors
Volume: The Collected Poems
Year: 1959
Added: Feb 21 2003
Viewed: 4643 times
Poem of the Day: Aug 6 2004

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