Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing.
I want to fill it with color and ducks,
The zoo of the new

Whose name you meditate —
April snowdrop, Indian pipe,

Stalk without wrinkle,
Pool in which images
Should be grand and classical

Not this troublous
Wringing of hands, this dark
Ceiling without a star.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Sylvia Plath's poem Child


  1. Uma Maheswary says:

    I think even though she is blessed with her first child (born in the month of april)she feels incomplete,she feels she is the not the right person to take care of the little baby. Some where deep inside her frustrations of not being able to live up to her own expectations are growing.. the greatest gift for a woman is to become mother…but somehow,plath due to her frustrations,inferiority complex,high expectations etc she is not able to enjoy it…

  2. Elaine says:


  3. katie says:

    i find this poem one the saddest by plath!although the poems conveys an array of positive images the undertone is dark and negative!it conveys plaths realisation that she can never give her child what she beleives he needs. she has realized that the positive and cheerful moments linked to childhood are not something she can give her child, this itself is deeply saddening and perhaps shows us that plath ahs come to realiza that she cannot provide this stereotypical life for her own child. although one of plaths more positive poem(indeed many peaple beleive minor glimpses of hope may be interpreted from within the lines)i however interpret this poem to be an early emmison of plaths saddening realisation that she will not be ther to as she sees it poison her childs minds.

  4. killian says:

    i agree with ryan. The poet is clearly in awe of her child describing him as ‘the only beautiful thing.’ She wishes only good for her child but she is overcome by her own sense inadequecy, she fears she will pass on her own feelings of despair to her son. She acknowledges that this is a time when ‘images should be grand and classical.’ I feel that the poet desires happiness but her insecurities will not allow it. She knows she should not be experiencing troubulous images of “wringing hands” and a “dark ceiling without a star” but her depression is so deep that even during a reflective moment with her child she cannot see an escape from her despair.

  5. Maxine says:

    This poem breaks my heart. I know those words that express those desires for your child. I know the wringing of my hands because I fear that who I am will damage their beauty.
    Gorgeous poem, so glad stumbled across it.

  6. Sian says:

    I feel that even though this peom has a lot of positive images, such as ‘ducks’, ‘clear’ and ‘beautiful things’, the poems in itself is quite negative. i belive that this poem is about Sylvia being scared of the world that she has bought her two children into. As she had bipolar disease, and was probably in e relatively good mood when this poem was wrote, she has experienced the terror the world we live in can bring. i mean the women attempted suicide at quite a young age beofre she eventually succeeded later in life. i am an A level english student and absoultley love Sylvia Plath’s poetry. if any one would like to discuss this poem further please feel free to contact me

  7. Ryan says:

    To me, this poem’s meaning is all in the last three lines. It’s about a mother who has known the world and all its darkness, being protective over her child, who is pure and innocent and “clear”. She wishes she could fill his world with all things beautiful and grand and classical…I beleive her reference to a “pool in whihc images should be grand and classical” either relates to her tendency to refer to nature, specifically water, or a pool of images, the unreal… The tragic last few lines are well-put…I think she may be referring to her anxiety of her own influence on her child. I picture an infant laying in a crib with his mother over him, wringing her hands, the dark ceiling without a star.

  8. star says:

    Why would she kill herself in a oven when she has children?

  9. declan crowley says:

    i love sylvia plath

  10. Lee says:

    I am currently attempting an analysis of ‘child’for a coursework assignment. I have established that the poem conveys a mother/child relationship through the voice of the mother. And the expression of the mothers desire to bring her child happiness through exposure to the beauty of the world. But i am struggling in my discussion of the poetic effects Plath uses to create the text world, any advide would be appreiciated!

  11. Pablo Rhianni says:

    I am recently studying the work of Sylvia Plath, only 2 poems so far, and i admit i came onto this site for help in answering questions! But the first thing i noticed was that even though both “Morning Song” and “Child” have the same theme, children and her experience of childbirth, they are oddly contrasted. For example, the imegery in morning song is all dark, shadowy museums, while “Child” expresses the joy and love shred for Nicholas. Also, in both poems she referrs to her children as being parts of nature, not her children but natures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Sylvia Plath better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.