Sylvia Plath's Metaphor

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METAPHORS –SYLVIA PLATH

I'm a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf's big with its yeasty rising.
Money's new-minted in this fat purse.
I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I've eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there's no getting off.

Sylvia’s Plath’s “Metaphors” is about a woman feeling insignificant during the midst of her pregnancy. Striking imagery is used to explore the narrator’s attitudes about having a child. Plath uses metaphors in every line, including the title itself, making the poem a collection of clues. The reader is teasingly challenged to figure out these clues, realising that the metaphors have much deeper meaning.

The very first line of ‘Metaphors’ give readers an introduction to the poem, stating that it is a riddle to be solved. Riddles are not easily figured out and need careful consideration to find the meaning. However when solved, it seems the solution of the riddle is a pregnant woman. Plath uses 9 lines for the nine months of pregnancy by describing herself as nine syllables. The title ‘Metaphors’ also has nine letters, adding to this effect. In the next 2 lines, the poem continues to use inventive metaphors to compare the narrator to different objects, creating imagery. In line 2, the narrator is “An elephant, a ponderous house.” This expresses how the narrator feels about her pregnant body, signifying largeness. Similarly, the third line pokes fun of the way she looks by putting a funny image in ones mind of a pregnant woman that resembles “A melon strolling on two tendrils.” The objects in line 4 (red fruit, ivory and fine timbers) all refer to previous metaphors addressed. The red fruit refers to the melon and a fruit represents reproduction or a womb. When a plant is grown, the plant’s worth is in its fruit. Plath refers to her baby as the fruit and true value while she is the carrier, much like a plant....
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