Two Sisters of Persephone - Plath

In: Miscellaneous

Submitted By blaine
Words 1777
Pages 8
“Two Sisters of Persephone”

The poem, “Two Sisters of Persephone” by Sylvia Plath, introduces a stage in Plath’s life. Written in 1956, the same year Plath got married, this poem presents two potential paths for Plath and also exposes her severe depression that began as a young girl and endured throughout her adulthood. The speaker’s inability to reconcile two personalities in this poem leads to her demise. This is illustrated though textual and literary devices, as well as mythological allusions. Plath’s background along with Greek myths allows the reader feel a part of Plath’s dilemma and relate her problem to many women.
Sylvia Plath was born in 1932. The death of Plath's father in 1940 led to her extreme depression, which never subsided. She had two unsuccessful suicide attempts at ages 10 and 20. However, in 1954, things began to seem optimistic, with Plath receiving scholarship to Harvard summer school and then in 1955 with her graduation from Smith and attending Cambridge University on Fulbright fellowship. On June 16, 1956, Sylvia Plath married Ted Hughes.
Plath was known to be a feminist, which is evident in this poem, “Two Sisters of Persephone.” When her hard-working self was presented with marriage, Plath was confronted with a crisis that is represented in the poem. With her new marriage, she questioned whether or not she should remain herself and work, or become the stereotypical wife, stay home, and merely bear children. The emotional effects on Plath from the death of her father ultimately led to her suicide at the age of 30.
The poem is based around a mythological allusion to Persephone, the goddess of the underworld and fertility in Greek mythology, and Hades, Persephone’s duality. Persephone, a beautiful, young, well-loved woman, was abducted by Hades. Broken-hearted, Demeter, Persephone’s mother, looked for her, and was so…...

Similar Documents

Tulips by Sylvia Plath

...Tulips by Sylvia Plath Tulips, by Sylvia Plath seems to be a poetic expression of depression. The speaker who I assume is Plath is describing the psychological effects after a surgical procedure,which I feel is the time when sadly Plath miscarried her baby. The poem was written through her own view in a hospital room, where the reader is given an insight to the inner thoughts of a woman who has gone through a terrible ordeal, and the objects around her which influence her mentality. The poem follows Plath's admission into hospital and the heart-rendering account of her attempt to recover. There are nine stanzas in the poem, each with five lines, there is no evident rhyme pattern and there is little structure to the poem, although the lack of organization in each stanza seems to be a reflection of the confusion and the loss of control that Plath feels, the only structure shared between the stanzas is the abundance of punctuation, creating a slow rhythm throughout the poem, although Plath uses alliteration to increase fluency in parts of the poem, “plastic-pillowed”, “water went” and “light lies on white walls”. Plaths tone is serene throughout the poem, however there is a sarcastic tone when she says “The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here”. The tone of the poem starts out as depressed and bleak then changes into more dynamic and hopeful and the imagery more surreal: “the mouth of some great African cat”. In the first two stanzas, Plath talks about the......

Words: 1017 - Pages: 5

Words - Plath

...Ian Gilbert Words by Sylvia Plath is a powerful poem that strikes at the very meaning of words and their potential. At first glance, feelings of strength and energy wash over the reader. When reading it out loud its almost impossible not to picture an overdramatic actor clenching their right hand and looking up to the sky. The use of the word indefatigable makes this poem quite self evident in the power and emotion spewing from that word. The emotion throughout the poem is almost direct pain. This is shown immediately with the first word “Axes.” After reading it a few times this word is still the most striking because words are like axes. They can be very painful. This pain can also be seen in the lines “Wells like tears” meaning more pain caused from words. From this the reader can infer that Plath was probably recently struck down by words. The next striking visual comes from the use of sound and the way sound acts. “Echoes traveling off the center like horses” giving the reader a great sense of indirect onomatopoeia and a stunning visual. A rock dropping into water gives a similar visual with the use of circles, making another reference to the way sound can have an impact. The final three words of the poem sum up at least some of the meaning within the poem. “Govern a life.” This is very accurate for the majority of us. We try not to, but we live the majority of our lives according to what we hear people say about us and what we should do. All these things that she......

Words: 298 - Pages: 2

Poems of Plath

...midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry Took its place among the elements. Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue. In a drafty museum, your nakedness Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls. I'm no more your mother Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slown Effacement at the wind's hand. All night your moth-breath Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen: A far sea moves in my ear. One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral In my Victorian nightgown. Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try Your handful of notes; The clear vowels rise like balloons. TWO SISTERS OF PERSEPHONE Two girls there are : within the house One sits; the other, without. Daylong a duet of shade and light Plays between these. In her dark wainscoted room The first works problems on A mathematical machine. Dry ticks mark time As she calculates each sum. At this barren enterprise Rat-shrewd go her squint eyes, Root-pale her meager frame. Bronzed as earth, the second lies, Hearing ticks blown gold Like pollen on bright air. Lulled Near a bed of poppies, She sees how their red silk flare Of petaled blood Burns open to the sun's blade. On that green alter Freely become sun's bride, the latter Grows quick with seed. Grass-couched in her labor's pride, She bears a king. Turned bitter And sallow as......

Words: 1185 - Pages: 5

Plath

...Gianna Sacco Pursuit – Sylvia Plath This poem begins with a vivid image of someone being followed by a panther. Plath feels like “there is a panther stalking” her down. The title of this poem, being “Pursuit” summarizes the poem. It is the pursuit of her doom, she is trying to get away from the panther which is chasing her until the end, however, at times she feels guilt and a sort of drive towards him. She is attracted to this panther which will eventually lead to trouble. Hence, Plath uses many themes in this poem such as color and feelings and the aggressiveness of nature, which leads to the way she feels about being followed. The pursuer is double faced, as the first two lines demonstrate. “there is a panther stalks me down/ One day I’ll have my death of him.” On one side it is clear that the panther is pursuing the author, while on the other it could be the author pursuing her doom, being the panther. Fear and running are the elements that express the fact that the pursuer is the panther. Plath is being pursued as she uses words such as “I run, I rush, sacrifice, bait”. The contrast is seen when she says “the hunt is on”, they are after each other. It is a never ending cycle. Even though Plath is quickly considered the one being pursued by the panther, she can also be considered the pursuer. Plath writes “one day I’ll have my death of him” instead of something along the lines of ‘one day he will kill me’. Plath is also chasing the panther, pursuing her own death. Her...

Words: 922 - Pages: 4

The Faboulus Button Sister the Fabulous Button Sisters the Fabulous Button Sisters Are a Story About Two Friends, Karen and Michelle, Where the Story Is Told from Karen´S Perspective. Karen Is Living at Home with Her

...The Faboulus Button Sister The fabulous button sisters The fabulous button sisters are a story about two friends, Karen and Michelle, where the story is told from Karen´s perspective. Karen is living at home with her mother and father, while Michelle is living with her aunt, and as Michelle claims it´s because of her mother´s attempt to get into Hollywood. The two friends are more or less doing everything together. Summary: Karen and Michelle are preparing for a party, where Michelle suggests them both to dress up with the theme of chocolate buttons - “the fabulous button sisters”. Michelle has already decided that she wants to be white and Karen should be the ordinary one – the brown one. Michelle tells Karen, that she is taken the risk to stand out and be special, while Karen only will blend in unnoticed. Before the story gets to the night of the party, we simply get a closer insight on the relationship between Karen and Michelle. Like the various ideas that Michelle has, for example that they only should eat one color of food at every meal. At the night of the party, Michelle calls Karen and says that she should meet her on the corner in ten minutes. When Karen arrives, she sees Michelle wearing some other clothes than they had agreed. This confuses Karen because they had made an agreement on what to wear. The story ends with Michelle moving to her mother in “Hollywood” where she sends letters to Karen, but Karen finds out that the letters are from......

Words: 351 - Pages: 2

Larkin and Plath

...in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Mestre em Literaturas de Expressão Inglesa. Thesis Advisor: Sandra Regina Goulart Almeida, PhD Belo Horizonte Faculdade de Letras Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais 2012 ii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS To my father, Tadeu, for always reminding me of the importance of having dreams and being true to them; for motivating me to be creative and to believe in my potential; and for teaching me to seek beauty and happiness in everything I see and do. To my mother, Socorro, for always making sure I enjoy all the possibilities that cross my path, and for reminding me that hard work is the only means to achieve my goals. To my brothers, Bruno and Diego, for being my best friends. To my sister-in-law, Sabrina, for embracing me as family and making me feel at home even when I’m not. To Paulo, for his company, for his love and care, and for all his witty remarks. To the professors of Letras, Julio Jeha, José dos Santos, Eliana Lourenço and Gláucia Renates, for being extraordinary professors, and for all the knowledge each of them shared during their classes. To Professor Thomas Burns, for his undying passion for literature; for being such an inspiring figure; and, especially, for introducing me to Philip Larkin’s, Sylvia Plath’s and James Joyce’s works. And a special acknowledgment to Sandra Almeida, my advisor, firstly, for being my advisor, secondly; for being the first professor to ever make me enjoy classes, for......

Words: 44492 - Pages: 178

Sylvia Plath

...Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) An American poet and novelist of the 20th century was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Sylvia Plath is best known for her semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar and her second volume of poetry collection, Ariel. She was one of the most dynamic and expressive poets of her time. As a student she was successful, won many awards and scholarships ,at the age of 11 she started keeping a journal of her poems of which many were published in her early years itself. However, inspite of such perfections in her academic life she felt anything but perfect in her own skin. Her poems show her deep anguishes with her own life involving her broken marriage with Ted Hughes, unresolved issues with her parents with so much light on the passing of her father when she was only eight and her own vision of herself. At the time of her undergraduate years she has started showing symptoms of severe depression and already had a history of mental illness since childhood which ultimately lead her to her death. Her conditions led her to try to commit suicide not once but twice before she finally succeeded the third time. She had a sort of disturbed mind which can be felt through her much personal poems such as “daddy” which brings out her deep insecurities of being “fatherless” Feminists potrayed Sylvia as a woman driven to madness by a domineering father, unfaithful husband and demanding duties of motherhood. The hardness of her life increased her need to write ,which she could...

Words: 2053 - Pages: 9

Mirror - Sylvia Plath

...Mirror – Sylvia Plath This poem is by Sylvia Plath and the narrator is a mirror. The mirror is personified and is endowed with many human traits. This poem is about a mirror that reflects only what it is shown and hence the role of the mirror is said to be the revealer of the reality and truthfulness. The mirror is also said to be faithful. The interesting features’ regarding this poem is how the poet changes tones between the two stanzas, which makes the ending impactful. In the first stanza, the mirror and its role is introduced. The mirror is lonely and its only companion is the wall of which it feels it has become a part of. The mirror shows us some of its human characteristics. However in the second stanza the poet brings in human life, a woman and it is also now a lake, which reflects the unsatisfied lady. The second stanza also shows the comparison of when the lady was young and now when she has become old. The factor of age is brought into the poem, which shows that the lady is getting old and that her reflection in the mirror is displeasing her. The woman turns to other objects such as “The candle” and “The moon” to which the author describes as “liars” which means that they don’t show her for who she really is. The author uses the candle as symbolism for life and the triumph over darkness. However the use of these objects could also represent how humans turn away from the actual truth and go seek something to which they might find more pleasant.......

Words: 350 - Pages: 2

The Tale of Two Feisty Sisters: the Jewish Backgrounds and Interactions of Early Christianity with Judaism

...Bibliography 25 Introduction Students of Church history are often puzzled by the sharp contrast between the Jewishness of the writers and events of the New Testament on one hand and the definitively non-Jewish character of the Early Church after the apostolic period on the other hand. An appreciation of the Jewish background of the Early Church and knowledge of the development of Jewish-Christian relations in the first three centuries of the Christian era is therefore crucial if one desires to understand the parting of ways between Judaism and Christianity. These two sister faiths would become bitter enemies within a few centuries after the emergence of the Christian faith. This paper, while heavily relying and interacting with primary sources of the time, will endeavor to highlight the Jewish origin of Christianity, trace its development within Judaism, and chronicle its inexorable divorce from its Jewish roots and sister faith. Setting the stage: the expansion of the Jewish Diaspora During the Persian occupation of Palestine (538-332 BC), many Jews decided to pass on the magnanimous offer of Cyrus allowing them to return to Palestine and chose to remain in Babylonia where subsequently, the Jewish population grew in influence over the centuries.1 Already during the Babylonian invasion and in the lifetime of the prophet Jeremiah, many Jews fled to Egypt, where they established substantial Jewish settlements. The Greek period (332-167 BC) saw the expansion of the......

Words: 6579 - Pages: 27

Sylvia Plath

...raised in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts during the Great Depression, Sylvia Plath endured an oppressive and depressing childhood. On the surface, Plath appeared to be intelligent, sensitive, and flawless, but inside she was living in misery. Sylvia Plath's emotional life, and her arduous past with her father's death, her tragic break up with Ted Hughes, feminism, and bipolar disorder played an immense part in her career as a poet by inspiring her to create her somber masterpieces. Despite all her troubles, Sylvia Plath excelled as a student at Smith College, won awards, and prizes for her writing, and was a straight a student. Then, she met her future husband and ex-husband, Ted Hughes, whom she would have two children with. Sylvia Plath, was an extremely prodigious poet, she published her first poem, Circus in Three Rings, at age eight. By writing over 121 compelling poems and one stellar novel based on her life experiences, women's rights and injustices, she became the face of 20th century feminism. Sylvia Plath’s poetry is mainly about 20th century feminism and women’s social injustices. "The poem Daddy criticizes the male aggression and depicts men being responsible for all the social injustices" (Hunt). In Sylvia Plath's versification Daddy, she illustrates how men are dominant over women, by comparing herself to Jews, and men to the Nazis. “I may be a bit of a Jew. I have always been scared of you” (Plath, "Daddy"). She outlines how women are a minority, and don’t have......

Words: 1042 - Pages: 5

Sister

...controversial discussions there has been in genetics, is whether the use of genetic therapy or genetic enhancement are moral permissible or not. On one side, there is the genetic therapy which uses genetic research to cure an illness. In the novel ‘Sister’ by Rosamund Lupton, there is a big example of this, since the sister of the protagonist, Tess, dies after being injected with a gene that was supposed to save his baby from Cystic Fibrosis. On the other side, there is the genetic enhancement which is considered to be good because it pushes people to fill their greatest potential. Yet, the latest is not legal and for that reason in the novel the scientist who uses this practice risks the lives of most of its protagonists. And Lupton adds yet another source of tension into this tingling welter of unknowns: she uses technology not as a deus ex machinabut as a kind of diabolus in machina. Early on, Bee reveals that Tess took part in an experimental medical trial to cure her baby in utero of the cystic fibrosis that killed their brother. The unsettling science behind this procedure accompanies the narrative like an unsmiling doctor in a white lab coat, injecting a mood of anxious uncertainty. Initially Bee, “wearing my full older-sister uniform,” had counseled Tess against the treatment; but it had worked. Hearing that news from Tess, months earlier, Bee had wept with relief, “big-wet-tears crying. I had been so worried, not about your baby, but about what it would be like for......

Words: 1311 - Pages: 6

Sisters

...matter how small or big it is while I take mine negatively. It’s very funny that we have a common talent, that is talking non-stop. I’m very realistic and sarcastic like I’m always looking for a fight when talking, in the contrary, my bestfriend always talk with sugar coated words plus her “world peace” face and voice which make her look like the goody goody and i’m the bully. You see, each one of us has many common and differences. Similarities is one of the reason why we love our bestfriend. Either way, the differences we have is not a hindrance for us to be bestfriends but instead those made me love her even more. She can be as good as God and I can be as evil as satan and vice versa but I know she’ll accept me for who I am. She is my sister from another mother and I would never trade her for anything. but i know deep in my heart whatever happens, together we’ll face it and never leave each others side....

Words: 479 - Pages: 2

Sylvia Plath

...SYLVIA PLATH Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. She is widely recognized as one of the most important American poets of the twentieth century. Her best-known poems are carefully crafted pieces noted for their personal imagery and intense focus. Many concern such themes as alienation, death, and self-destruction. Her vivid imagery, searing tone, and intimate topics cemented her place among the pantheon of great poets. Best known for novel The Bell Jar and her second volume of poetry, Ariel, Plath's reputation has only grown since her death in 1963. She is considered a poet of the confessional movement, which was led by Robert Lowell, but her work transcends this label and speaks to more universal truths than simply her own emotions. Although the sensational nature of her death by suicide has led some critics and readers to conflate the value of her life and art, Sylvia Plath's poetry demonstrates an astonishing capacity to engage with the art of poetry; many of her words and images have become fully entrenched in the literary consciousness. EARLY LIFE Sylvia Plath was born on October 27, 1932 in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts to Aurelia Schobert Plath (American of Austrian descent) and Otto Emile Plath (immigrant from Grabow, Germany). Her father was a biology and German professor at Boston University. He was also an author of a book based on bumblebees. There was a stark age difference between Plath’s parents, her mother being twenty one......

Words: 3041 - Pages: 13

Sylvia Plath Mieeoe

...poem “Mirror” written by Sylvia Plath identifies the woman’s physical complexities of her beauty that becomes transparent within the mirror. The woman in the poem is getting older, and while she is aging, the mirror goes on watching the process. In the poem, the woman is realizing that she is getting older and that she is losing her natural beauty. The woman is a narcissus because she believes that speaking to the mirror would reveal the truth. The woman has discovered that her physical appearance is changing and she cannot come to face the terms due to the fact that her reflection is aging. The woman’s reflection is observed in the mirror where communication commences between the mirror and the woman. The mirror is candid towards the woman, who is oblivious to the truth about her beauty. Sylvia Plath uses personification to display the human attributes such as truthfulness. “I have no preconceptions. I am not cruel, only truthful” (Plath l 4). The quotation illustrates that the mirror is speaking to the woman and the woman does not have any preconceptions. It displays that the mirror is an inanimate object. The mirror demonstrates truthfulness, not cruelty. The mirror speaks the truth whether it is good or bad, because the mirror does not lie. Visual imagery is portrayed in the poem because it displays an insight of what the woman sees in the mirror. “Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully” (Plath l 10,13). The quotation......

Words: 750 - Pages: 3

Fever 103 by Sylvia Plath

...Sutherland English 1102 What Does Internal Mean to Eternal Man? The poem “Fever 103°”, written by Sylvia Plath, reveals competing satire and radical takes on the poem. A formal analysis and reader-response will explore the poems two meanings and how they are shaped and built within the work. The work in short is an expression of sex and sensuality versus safe guarding ones purity and oneself. As it opens with Cerberus at the gates of hell, unable to lick clean the feverish tendon, then to love as in the smell of a snuffed candle, next to the smoke breaking the speaker’s neck. The poem continues to compare adulterers to devilish leopards, but in the next stanza she pleads and her sheets grow heavy. The elements of allusion, diction and, imagery come together to highlight the poem’s ambiguity. Its ambiguity, the two views of taking the poem as the speaker being straight forward in presenting the celibate as more godly, and as a result the impure unworthy of them, and the perspective that the speakers god-complex and displayed self-importance is satire to mock the pure who find themselves so mighty. The two takes on the work are hidden from another once it is read within the internal perspective view of the reader. “Fever 103°” is a poem of two foils chosen to created make a mockery of the reader, the views are pinned together to show the human self-servient manner to choose what gives them......

Words: 1412 - Pages: 6