In Sylvia Plath’s poem ‘Morning Song,’ the poet expresses a range of fluctuating emotions during her journey through motherhood. The poet does this by applying an imagery technique to each word to draw a picture of her daily activities in order to express her detachment from the child. However, as the poem proceeds and develops, the readers learn that from each stanza to stanza it portrays the poet’s distanced and alienated relationship with her baby growing into a more loving and attached relationship.
It is evident from the first stanza that the poet is quite distanced from her baby as she deals with her pregnancy and birth in unsentimental terms. The first sentence signifies conception and is written monosyllabically for impact, starting with: "Love set you going like a fat gold watch. " Because the poem starts with the word “love,” it allows us to interpret that this is a literal meaning, that it all started with love – the essential reason for the baby coming into the world. However, the use of the word “watch” instantly changes our thought as the imagery of a watch is cold and lifeless.
It also makes us think of the passing of time, as it ticks on and on - the time the poet feels is being taken away from her in order to endure her responsibility. Like a child, the watch is given life: this is its beginning; then comes time and aging. Another interpretation of this watch could be the heart beat of the baby, the constant reminder of the baby’s presence. Furthermore, this mentioned watch is a “fat gold watch” – the adjective of gold gives us an idea the importance of the newborn and the “fat” alludes to the newborn’s chubby and rounded shape.
In the next two lines, “The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry/ Took its place among the elements,” the notable words are “bald” and “cry” where the words are again monosyllabic and sets the brave moment that a new person has come to the world. This idea is portrayed as “took its place among the elements,” where these elements can be interpreted as the elements that make up the world, the natural elements. The way Plath approaches the birth of her baby seems quite surreal as the word “elements” indicate an uniqueness, an ambivalent emotion which Plath is experiencing.
In the second stanza, even though the poet comes to welcome the arrival of her baby, it is clear to us that the poet is still quite distanced from her new-born. It still shows a negative emotion more than the positive, overwhelming feelings which you would normally associate with the birth of your child. For example, the echoes of the voices of the parents “magnifying your arrival,” give an idea of the happiness brought to them by the birth. However, the next two worded sentence “New Statue” is very sharply worded and these words lack beauty and innocence, underlining the lack of sentimentality and resentment towards the baby from the poet.
Furthermore, the “drafty museum” allow the readers to see the distance between the poet and her child because of the old, cold nouns which she has used. Yet, these words still have a positive feeling as the child is described as the “new statue in a drafty museum, your nakedness shadows our safety. ” The nakedness of the baby, so delicate and soft, is compared with the perfection of a statue. We can see that Plath has used this metaphor to underline the delicate imagery to portray the parent’s worry about the baby’s safety.
But, it is the simile the poet uses at the end of the stanza, “We stand round blankly as walls” which creates the beautiful imagery into how the mother reacted towards the birth of her baby. This imagery suggests an overwhelming, yet fazed response to the arrival of the child emphasizing her ambivalent emotion throughout the poem. The third stanza overall begins to show the growing attachment the poet feels with her baby. The first verse instantly shocks the readers as the poet refers herself as “I am no more you mother.
This again creates an extreme sense of distance between the poet and the baby and opens up a range of emotions Plath feels – confused and puzzled. However, by the second verse, by using metaphors, Plath begins to compare the motherhood with “the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow. ” This rain, stated as a mirror reflects upon the disappearing of the clouds themselves, expressing the idea that motherhood is not a condition of control by the mother; the baby belongs to the world, to itself, to the elements which surround its life in the world.
The next stanza structures many verbs and nouns which describe the child and the surrounding to create amazing images. This is so the readers are able to experience what the poet has experienced. The animal imagery used in “All night your moth-breath,” deals with the child’s breath being delicate, sift and sensuous. The movement of the insect is compared with the rhythm of the breath of the baby at night; hence this allows the readers to see a more positive view the poet has towards the presence of the child.
In the next line, a very interesting verb is used to describe the breathing “flickers among the flat pink roses. ” This is an interesting image as it describes that something is flashing on and off which could allude to the poet’s emotions and how she is constantly changing, both physically and emotionally as her life is taken over by her child. By the final line of this stanza, as the poet wakes up to hear “A far sea moves in my ear,” we see this is an imagery to portray the sounds coming from the baby.
This sound of a living healthy baby suggests that the mother is pleased with what she has created and does feel love for her, slowly showing the growing attachment between the mother and the baby. Even though the fifth stanza mainly focuses on the poet’s emotion, she still discusses the growing attachment with her baby. The first line foreshadows the characteristic of the mother’s state as she hears “One cry and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral/ In my Victorian nightgown. ” We can see her stumbling out of bed in a clumsy just like the heavy cow.
From here, it is very clear the poet’s mixed emotions are very important in portraying her journey through motherhood. This is because her ambivalent emotions show she can be sometimes joyous and celebratory about the birth of the child but we also see that from one cry from the child, she can become weak and anxious about looking after her baby. In reference to the “Victorian nightgown,” this emphasises her unattractiveness and loss of sexuality. The metaphor refers to how motherhood has reduced her to her tired, ugly and fragile state which displays the draining effect of motherhood on a woman that she would feel exhausted.
However, the last line shows a twist in the attitude of the poet where the monosyllabic reads “Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. ” This gives a ‘cute’ view of the baby compared to the “new statue” and the “fat gold watch” used earlier on the poem. Thus, this gives an attractive yet alien perception of the new-born baby. The last verse of this stanza links with the first verse of the next one and starts describing the moment of the daybreak By the final stanza, it is evident that the tone of the poem has changed.
It begins with a beautiful sentence which creates a very meaningful view of dawn, describing that “The window square whitens and swallows its dull stars. ” Here, Plath is cleverly creating an image of dawn which alludes to the chapter in her life and shows a new day with a new child and a new cry. The cry of the baby is very symbolic in this final stanza because Plath ends the poem with “our handful of notes,” the description of the baby's attempts to produce sounds, something characteristic of humans before we learn how to speak.
These sounds are described as “The clear vowels rise like balloons,” emphasizing the imagery of rising of balloons in the air give clear idea of the constancy and intensity of the rising of these sounds. can now be heard when dawn is breaking. And the final sentence reads, e°«he clear vowels rise like balloons. i?? Balloons to me mean short lived and temporary although a child is permanent. I think that Plath is describing the cry in such detail because it is a clear sign of new beginnings whether they be good or bad.
This is a Morning Song is a poem which expresses the range of emotions which Plath experienced during motherhood. She talks of her detachment from the child and how she feels weary and tired due to her daughtere© cry throughout the night. She uses many language features throughout the poem to show how the arrival of her baby has affected her life. She uses each word to draw a picture of her daily activities. Metaphorically a masterpiece, she draws the reader's attention in each line.
It is a beautiful and tender work that all mothers can read and relate. I enjoyed reading this poem because I think that the strong but simple imagery created is beautiful and I believe that the poem could be very beneficial to many people of the world. Plath gives a message which suggests that it is alright to be unsure when being introduced to motherhood and I believe that Plath wanted to show her audience that she is joyous of the arrival of her daughter but weary because of the hard work she is experiencing.
In her short poem "Morning Song," Sylvia Plath utilizes many strong images to convey disillusionment with her role as mother. Her metaphors are unusual and often difficult to understand, adding to a confused sense of discontent, here aimed at maternity. Through line-by-line analysis as well as all-inclusive looks at the poem as a whole, we shall attempt to take this idea further, picking out evidence and examples of this disquieting sentiment from Plath's work. Let us pay special attention to the images Plath paints, and examine our own emotional and psychological response as readers.
We can then stand back and take in the poem in its entirety, seeing the ways in which the poet has connected her ideas, as well as commenting on some of the technical aspects of the disjointed poem. In short, our study will look at the ways in which Sylvia Plath uses her poem's imagery and structure to express her unconventional feelings on the topic of motherhood. In a brief reading of this poem, we may not know what to make of the references to a watch, a cloud, a cat, but certain other words stand out. We recognize the words midwife, cry, nakedness, and mother.
These words trace a pattern through the work, and we find the motif of motherhood prevalent. While it is always unwise to leap to conclusions about a poet's intentions, we can be assured that Plath is not here speaking in merely figurative terms. "The midwife slapped your footsoles... " says line 2; later we see mention of "your arrival," i. e. birth. In line 7 the author denies being "your mother" and in the fifth stanza describes waking from bed to attend a crying baby: One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral In my Victorian nightgown. Your mouth opens clean as a cat's...
We see then that Plath is not merely invoking the imagery of motherhood, but is speaking of it in its plainest sense. From this brief run-through we decide that we can safely proceed with this poem while keeping in mind that its language is that of maternity. "Morning Song" is saturated with references to motherhood, and its very title suggests sunrise and new birth; these warm ideas will stand in contrast to the insensitive way in which Plath deals with her topic. Just as maternity is commonly viewed as pleasant and rewarding, unsuspecting readers may now create the same expectations for this poem; they will be disappointed.