Metaphors by Sylvia Plath

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Pregnancy is supposed to be a time of joy and excitement for the mother to be. However, contrary to popular belief, pregnancy doesn’t protect a woman from becoming depressed. About 20 % of women experience some type of depressive symptoms during pregnancy, and 10% develop major depression (Kahn, Moline, Ross, Cohen, Altshuler par. 3). Depression in America is an area of mental illness that is sometimes undetected and people who are feeling symptoms are unaware that the moods they are experiencing are actually normal signs that can be dealt with by medical experts. According to The American Pregnancy Association, depression that is not treated can have potential dangerous risks to the mother and baby. Untreated depression can lead to poor nutrition, drinking, smoking, and suicidal behavior, which can then cause premature birth, low birth weight, and developmental problems. A woman who is depressed often does not have the strength or desire to adequately care for herself or her developing baby. Babies born to mothers who are depressed may also be less active, show less attention and are more irritable and agitated than babies born to moms who are not depressed (“American Pregnancy Association”). In the poem “Metaphors” by Sylvia Plath, her choice of words for the poem seem to express her feelings of depression toward the issue of her pregnancy.

Plath chose many metaphors to describe her pregnancy. From her choice of words, one gets the feeling as if she is not enjoying the fact that she is pregnant, nor is she looking forward to giving birth. The beginning line, “I’ a riddle in nine syllables,” begins the pattern of nine syllable lines, with each line having nine syllables and containing nine lines. This reference to the nine months of pregnancy seemed to be an issue for her, and she unlike many pregnant mothers did not seem to want to relish this period of time. In the second line, Plath used the symbol of an elephant to describe how she is feeling...
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