“Lady Lazarus,” by Sylvia Plath and “ “The Waking” by Theodore Roethke are two poems that relate directly to the speaker. Although both poems share this similarity, the way in which both works or literature are constructed are vastly different. Plath uses visual imagery and poetical tercets to show the pain and suffering of the speaker in her poem, while Roethke uses the musical Villanelle and synesthesia to create his picture of the speaker’s inner thoughts and a sense of awakening.
When reading the poem “Lady Lazarus” for the first time, the subject matter can be a little difficult to comprehend. The title of this poem and the speaker share the same name, ultimately making connections to the poet herself. Lady Lazarus begins by telling the reader that she has done “it” again. Whatever “it” is; the reader does not know. She is a thirty-year-old who compares to herself to a Holocaust victim while also telling the reader that she has nine lives, much like a cat. The reader figures out that “it” is dying but, like a cat, the speaker keeps returning to life. Lady Lazarus tells the reader about the first two times that she almost died and how “dying is an art.” She describes death as theatrical as she’s possibly preforming her third death in front of a crowd at a circus. She again compares herself to a Holocaust victim as she imagines herself burning to death at concentration camp crematorium. At the end of the poem, she is resurrected for the third time and will “eat men like air” (line 84). In “The Waking,” much of the poem takes place inside the speaker’s mind. The speaker begins to contemplate his own opening awareness to who he is and what he can know. The poem briefly shifts from the speaker’s mind to the “real” world to notice some of the natural organisms that surround this “going where I have to go.” The speaker returns to his inner reckoning of greater power and fate.
Imagery is an excellent way for a reader to read a poem
Bibliography: Baym, Nina, and Robert S. Levine. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2012. Print.