First, are you our sort of a person?
Do you wear
A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch,
A brace or a hook,
Rubber breasts or a rubber crotch,

Stitches to show something’s missing? No, no? Then
How can we give you a thing?
Stop crying.
Open your hand.
Empty? Empty. Here is a hand

To fill it and willing
To bring teacups and roll away headaches
And do whatever you tell it.
Will you marry it?
It is guaranteed

To thumb shut your eyes at the end
And dissolve of sorrow.
We make new stock from the salt.
I notice you are stark naked.
How about this suit—-

Black and stiff, but not a bad fit.
Will you marry it?
It is waterproof, shatterproof, proof
Against fire and bombs through the roof.
Believe me, they’ll bury you in it.

Now your head, excuse me, is empty.
I have the ticket for that.
Come here, sweetie, out of the closet.
Well, what do you think of that ?
Naked as paper to start

But in twenty-five years she’ll be silver,
In fifty, gold.
A living doll, everywhere you look.
It can sew, it can cook,
It can talk, talk , talk.

It works, there is nothing wrong with it.
You have a hole, it’s a poultice.
You have an eye, it’s an image.
My boy, it’s your last resort.
Will you marry it, marry it, marry it.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Sylvia Plath's poem The Applicant


  1. Sasha says:

    I think that the poem is well written and not only sows how women were expected to act to be the perfect wife but at the same time illustrates the pressure men were under to get the perfect woman to be seen as an upstanding man in society. Plath was depressed most of her life but this meant that her poetry was honest and not a few words put together to show a glossed over veiw of life. The poem is not particularly feminist but simply shows it like it is.

  2. b. says:

    yeah, but see, Plath herself wasn’t actually a feminist, as such. she quite enjoyed her domestic role. Actual “Feminism” as any kind of political movement or force, didn’t come along until after her death. Its true that in a post feminism society, it may be a dominant reading of the poem, but we don’t know what she actually meant, unless there some explicit statement explaining it (and i guess getting those from poets is pretty rare, as that’s pretty much the ‘magic’ of poetry). i think its interesting the way people view a lot of her poems simply because many feminists have used her work, and put the poet herself up on somekind of pedestal, perhaps wrongfully.

  3. Chuck Norris says:

    Everybody Knows that Chuck Norris wrote better poems than Silvia Plath, even Jesus. In fact, he invented the art form of poetry and his poems have been known to make people cry until death from dehydration.

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