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Analysis and comments on Metaphors by Sylvia Plath

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Comment 23 of 463, added on January 10th, 2006 at 10:14 PM.

the elephant part makes it seem as if she didn't want the baby as well as
the ponderous house. This reminds me of Hemmingway's Hills Like White
Elephants, as it speaks of a sumwhat unwanted pregnancy and boarding a
train- very similar infact.

Kristen from United States
Comment 22 of 463, added on January 8th, 2006 at 1:48 PM.

I really liked this poem. I didn't get it until I read the comments though.
It is very clever. I would have never thought of something like that. She's

Amber from United States
Comment 21 of 463, added on December 20th, 2005 at 5:09 PM.

this poem isn't regretful. she's realizing what it is to be pregnant.
lemme break it down:

"I'm a riddle in nine syllables."
First letter of the poem is the 9th letter of the alphabet. 9 lines, each 9
syllables, reflecting 9 months of gestation.

"An elephant, a ponderous house,"
The elephant represents her enlarged state, and a ponderous house is also
an image of her big, clumsy body, but more importantly, its a metaphor for
her unborn childs "house". her womb is the dwelling place of this baby and
in it, it is provided all life-sustaining necessities.

"A melon strolling on two tendrils."
An image of her big, round belly resting on her thin legs.

"O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!"
these three images describe the child, in relation to the previous
descriptions of herself.
red fruit = the ripe fruit of her "melon"
ivory = the precious, valuable ivory from this "elephant"
fine timbers = the wood that's part of this "house". also, timbers are made
from existing trees, just as this baby is made from Sylvia.

"This loaf's big with its yeasty rising."
Another reference to her belly that's rising as it grows. her stomach is
the harder, exposed crust while her baby is the unexposed, warm, soft

"Money's new-minted in this fat purse."
The comparison of money being minted is a metaphor for her baby as an
imprint of herself. she is stamping out a copy of herself, and minting a
new person. this coin is "new-minted" because it is unique--different from
all othe existing coins. money is also an appropriate comparison because it
is valuable, just as this baby is to her.

"I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf."
a means = shes the way this baby will be brought about
a stage = a stage of this baby's life, step in development, a landing place
and a platform for this baby
a cow in calf = as a calf is normally in a cow, she is the cow in her calf.
her baby is a copy of herself, and she is invested in this baby.

"I've eaten a bag of green apples,"
a reference to her cravings as a pregnant woman

"boarded the train, there's no getting off."
the train ride is a metaphor for her journey of pregnancy and her new plath
in life. Now that she is pregnant, she knows she will forever be bound to
this child. it will always be her baby. there's no exiting this ride.

now, this REALLY isnt a difficult poem to analyze. id say its pretty
straightforward. i wa sso surprised to read such crappy interpretations and
analysis. what are schools teaching kids these days...

jessica from United States
Comment 20 of 463, added on December 9th, 2005 at 4:03 PM.

"a melon strolling on 2 tendrills????? 0o0o0o0o0o0 a carrage with a baby ok
i get it.......i think"

The melon represents Sylvia herself (think large stomach), and the tendrils
are her legs. Two tendrils, and two legs. Tendrils grasp on to objects
for support, much like the tendril of a grape plant. And strolling just
means she is walking.

poemGuy from United States
Comment 19 of 463, added on December 6th, 2005 at 9:49 PM.

another way of analyzing this poem is not to think of it as a pregnancy at
all but instead note the line "i've eaten a bag of green apples" which
could mean she has eaten a bag of unripe, sour apples which, as any country
girl can tell you, will give you horrible gas. So in reviewing the poem the
yeast rising and other bloated imagery are of the bloated gassy feeling
from overindulging on unripe apples. Therefore the last line of the poem
"boarded the train there's no getting off" is the remorse she is feeling
after eating the apples of this impending gas.

May from United States
Comment 18 of 463, added on November 4th, 2005 at 8:47 AM.

This poem is great. I really like how it is light-hearted compared to alot
of her other poems.

Desirae from United States
Comment 17 of 463, added on August 25th, 2005 at 1:35 AM.

I think it's a good poem...........
there are nine line's in the poem she describe's how she love's her
pregnancy(nine letters) how long dose it take for a baby too come out (nine
months) by the way the first letter she use'es is the nineth letter in the
alaphbets(I ) am a riddle>>>>>>>>>> and also all the sentince has nine
syllables................... what claver lady.......................

Amreet from United States
Comment 16 of 463, added on August 3rd, 2005 at 11:14 AM.

I love this poem. It is humorous and good for the soul! We need mor
laughter in this sick ridden society. I love her uses of words and
phrases. She brilliantly takes an unpleasant wonderful miracle to make one
realize that some miracles have pain and suffering but the fruit you
receive from it is the gift of life.

Wanz from United States
Comment 15 of 463, added on July 24th, 2005 at 9:56 AM.

When I was a student of English back in college, I felt about this poem
much the same as does the other student of English in this thread. I saw
Sylvia Plath as a depressive with issues of abandonment and self doubt
brought on by a life of disappointment, and therefore dismissed this poem
as a product of her neuroses and nothing more. I, too, thought that her
view of pregnancy was unrealistically negative, and that of herself overly
damning. However, now that I'm just five weeks from my own due date, I see
that I was wrong and am sad to have spent so many years ignoring her
incredible talent for truth. At this point, though I'm honored to have the
experience, I really do feel like my purpose has been chiseled down to
“vessel”. My balance has been thrown by the jelly-filled beach ball that
is my center, and the movements of my child make me feel as though my
intestines have been invaded by some sort of alien parasite. I understand
what it is to have a belly full of green apples in the literal sense as
well as in the broad sensation of doomed over-indulgence, and the only
thought keeping me from screaming panic is the thought that next month
it'll happen whether I ask it to or not, so there's no point in worrying.
There's no getting off the train. Perhaps Plath's depression allowed her
to do what no other poet had yet done: describe pregnancy, both real and
metaphorical, in all its frustrating, uncomfortable, desperate, terrifying

apn from United States
Comment 14 of 463, added on July 21st, 2005 at 12:21 PM.

I disagree with the student of English (3/27/05) that the poem is a
negative comment on pregnancy. I see it as a humorous way of looking at a
normal, albeit at times inconveniently bulky, human condition. This is my
favorite of all of Plath's poems, short and sweet, and to any woman who has
ever been there, a wry and real expression of how it feels to be pregnant.

Yen2Learn from United States

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Information about Metaphors

Poet: Sylvia Plath
Poem: Metaphors
Volume: The Collected Poems
Year: 1959
Added: Feb 21 2003
Viewed: 2564 times
Poem of the Day: Aug 6 2004

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