Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.

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

51 Comments

  1. Brita says:

    I think it’s rather shallow to think this poem is only about one issue. It is a poem, after all, and can mean nearly anything in the entire world. On my first read I found this poem to be a metaphor to society, how we spread, grow, “inherit the earth” in a grotesque manner. Have you seen ants or mushrooms spread? It’s not an appealing thing, to me. I found it to be more about humans overtaking of the planet (and essential destruction of all that’s good)

    But as the good ole’ bible says “Seek and ye will find”. and I believe feminist have an eye peeled for anything that can be twisted into feminism (Granted this poem easily could be about feminism), and I perhaps am seeking for a poem about mankinds destruction.

    To each their own. If you’re trying to pass some test on this; english teachers perfer free thinkers. Dont requrgitate nonsense you read. Think for yourself 😉

    Personally: I loved this poem ^.^

  2. Xin says:

    The comments for these poems totally ROCKED. I had no idea what it was referring to, being the ignorant 15-year-old I am, but with a little nudge in the right direction, I’m hoping I scored high in my literature test. My teached picked this poem to study.

    On reflection, it’s very subtle, very deep, and very powerful when you think about it. Sylvia seems so very brilliant, it’s awe inspiring! Mushrooms!

  3. joodie says:

    I didn’t like this poem. It didn’t have nearly enough alliteration.

  4. chasape says:

    i think that this poem was written about the way that she died. think about it she commited suicide after serving her kids milk and cookies by leaving the oven door open with the gas running. she died discreetly, no body sees, no body tries to stop, heaving up needles, and she was bland-mannered….

    re-read this poem and think of these things…

  5. chasape says:

    i think that this poem is about how she died. read the poem again and think abotu the way that she died.(she died by closing all the doors in the kitchen after leaving the oven open with the gas running with right after serving her kids milk and cookies)right back after you re-read the poem

  6. jason says:

    this poem was alright

  7. Marco Zazzini says:

    To be able to analyze this poem, we must consider how women were treated through out the 50s. Sylvia Plath developed the idea of a community of women to fight against male chauvinism in order to change their role in society.
    Sylvia Plath in this poem gave the reader an idea of how women were treated that time, how they had to fight for theirn own fights, to grow in society and to reach equality with men.

  8. martin luzuriaga says:

    y like this poems because its abaut the persistance that the nature have to conquer our planet and survive

  9. Guido Martinez Dorr says:

    In my opinion this poem is a exelent description of the feminist movement. That even if it`s hided and criticiced by society as an antimale movement it grows. Slowly and quietly with out asking for the atention of the world up to the time when it will be a group to take in account.
    The poem is write with a lot of metafores but with simple words.
    In my opinion a great poem to take in account.

  10. Tomas Iannetta says:

    I liked very mucho the poem because can be analised wiht diferents points of view.
    Sylvia Plath tries to tell as (the word) the feminist side.

  11. Carolina Rattay says:

    We can describe this poem as an extended metaphor or properly said “Allegory”. It’s fascinating this method used by the author to analise and describe how women won, gradually, ground over our society. Of course to have a better apreciation on this poem we should take on account how women were treated before the 50’s and 60’s. She encoureges women to do more than being wives and mothers. “Our foot’s in the door”, what a significate metaphor to describe what Sylvia Plath wants to transmit, WOMEN WON’T GIVE UP.

  12. maximiliano greco says:

    The poem talk about mushrooms, Sylvia Plath, the principal character, describe the caracteristics of the mushrooms. he said that are silently, they grow very fast. She think that the society is like the mushrooms, that she is a mushrooms too, because the caracteristics between the women´s of the society in the 50`s and the mushrooms are sumilar.

  13. Kevin Vogel says:

    I find mushrooms very enjoyable , because is very smart silvya plath describing the poem.
    We can think , that the poem refers to many things , as women , drugs and othes.Because this talk about something that nobody sees and its growing up , until one day this will change.

  14. Eugenia Venditti, Victoria Guida says:

    In my opinion, this poem, reflects how roughly treated women where in society through the 50’s. She develops the idea of working all women together in order to change their role in society to reach equality. In order not being a housekeeper, a mother, or a wife.
    Sylvia Plath was a feminist who lived in a stage in which nobody take account the job, or labours women made.
    That’s why we can say that these mushrooms represent the women of that stage, because they were trying to grow all together.

  15. Marco Zazzini says:

    To be able to analize tis poem, we must consider how women were treat through the 50s. So when Sylvia Plath wrote this poem showed her feelings about this topic because she lived in a period in which there were no recognitions for women and the effort they made.
    Finally she tried to trasmite to women that they have to fight for there own rights, to grow in society and to reach equallity with men.

  16. Federico Medrano says:

    what would sylvia plath wants to tell by describing mushrooms?
    the poem by silvia plath refers to women and how they were treat in a male chauvinism society , “nobody sees us”.the writer wants the reader to discover that women are very similar to mushroom in how they were treatand behave in society “very whitely , discreetly, very quietly”
    what sylvia wants to tell about is that by being to many , they would fight for their rights .

  17. Matias Magni says:

    “Mushrooms” is a poem by Sylvia Plath that can be asociated to many things, that means, the characteristics which the author shows about the mushrooms are very similar to other objects or people.
    In this case, it seems that the author chose to compare mushrooms to women. She tries to describe the woman that lived through the 50s, and the function they had on the family, because they had to serve their husband and take care of the children: “We are shelves, we are tables, we are meek, we are edible…”
    Sylvia Plath is a feminist writer who finally tries to transmite through the poem that women have to multiply, do not give up to the needs of equality with men and the search of a new role of women in the society as should be work and their own lives.She concludes by saying: “Our kind multiplies: We shall by morning Inherit the earth. Our foot’s in the door”

  18. MACHARIA MICHAEL says:

    great poem .found it irresistible .had to read it WHOLE .HAD NOT IMAGINED MOST OF US ARE LIKE MUSHES.
    LITTLE
    LIKEABLE
    EDIBLE
    JUST HAPPY TO BE !

  19. Paula Nader says:

    In my opinion I think that the persona who wrote the poem, Sylvia Platch, wanted us to know and to analyze women living in the sociaty of the USA in the fifties, when women had to take care of their children and husbands, always with a smile on their faces, very well dressed with a pearl string and also with a perfect hairstyle. Women had to work hard, they didn’t hear or see, they only accepted things as they were.
    Although there are sone stanzas that show feminisim there are others that show some radical groups that had appeared during history as communism, nazis, for example “little or nothing, so many of us!, some many of us!… Nudgers and shovers, in spite of ourselves, our kind multiplies…”

  20. Milagros says:

    This poem by Sylvia Plath reflects before the 60`s how badly treated women where in society. She develops the idea of “Joining and Fighting” all together in order to change their role. Not to be just mothers or wives, but to start playing a role in every aspect of society and having the same rights as men.
    Sylvia Plath was a feminist who lived in a period in which there were no recognitions for women and the labour they did.
    That`s why we can say that these “Mushrooms” that are joined in order to spread, represent this group of women that are trying to grow and change the inequalities for women in society.

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