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Sylvia Plath

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Added by: Mel
I am studying this poem for my Alevel coursework and i have found it to be a very interesting poem. There are a lot of death imagery which is what i am currently focusing on.
Eng lit
Added by: Mia
i studies this poem with many other for my eng lit a level coursework and i found it talks about her(Plath's) children using connections with white and purity-and death. However themes of death and suffocation/exploitation are in the majority of her poems anyways!
Added by: Hi Mia...
If you're still on this site I can find you...
The moon has nothing to be sad about
Added by: Andrew Mayers
The poem includes simple, blunt statements and the use of the third person – there is no longer any ‘I’ and the predominant mood seems to be one of indifference. There is some questioning of the unembellished factuality of the opening end-stopped line: the body ‘wears the smile of accomplishment’ (so it is something that is ‘put on’); there is only the ‘illusion of a Greek necessity’ and the “Feet seem to be saying”. However, it’s as if it doesn’t matter whether ‘wears’, ‘illusion’ and ‘seem’ introduce a note of uncertainty. Human questions are voiced in the void. A comment by George Steiner (who called ‘Daddy’ “The Guernica of modern poetry”) shows us how differently two people can conclude the same thoughts:
“ The notion of cosmic solitude [is] …to a great majority among us, unbearable. We crave a witness, even fiercely judgemental, to our small dirt. In sickness, in psychological or material terror, when our children lie dead before our eyes, we cry out. That such a cry resounds in nothingness, that it is a perfectly natural, even therapeutic, reflex but nothing more, is almost impossible to endure.”
(from “The Grammars of Creation”)

Communication is replaced by noise in the final line. There is no one to mourn the woman, except the moon, who simply accepts it all as a part of nature.
Added by: Michael Gates
Many people seem to think of "Edge" as essentially a poetic suicide note. But it can also be read as a poem about the death of the "old" or "false" self before the "new" or "true" self (represented by the moon) can be born. If Plath had lived, I think that's how it would be interpreted. A frequent theme in her poetry is rebirth (not just death) and transcendence.
Added by: Sid
Well, I am of the opinion that while the tone/mood in the first half of this poem could be percieved as indifference, I feel that the later half is a sad contemplation of her death, bitternesss, i think, is no longer her fueling emotion. Not to say it isn't present, "She is used to this sort of thing" is proof that it still is. I feel that when she starts to express herself as a rose, she is delving deep into her love for herself. A unique blend of this love and the bitterness that coats it can be found only when one finds the sincere prospect of suicide at hand.
The use of mythology
Added by: Rebekah
I tend to agree that this poem is in part about her children- shieling them from life. "The illusion of Greek necessity/ Flows in the scrolls of her toga,"- the allusion to the Grecian mythological character, Madea, who slayed her children in an act of vengeance towards her cheating husband. Only instead of harming her children, "she has folded/ them back into her body as petals." I believe t gain true insight on this poem, one must look at the aspects of Plath's life and compare them to the breif reference of Grecian mythology found in Plath's poem. Then, the true essence of the poem unfolds- suicide, fear, love, hate, contempt, and a longing for escape.
the word "moon"
Added by: biquan
i read somewhere that the moon is associated with artemis(diana to the romans) the virgin hunter, therefore representing inconsistency and pureness. or something along that line. i was wondering if the association with the virgin hunter has anything to do with her wanting to be freed of the responsibilities of her life, and be pure as a virgin, the moon refering to herself. or could the moon be a reference to the indifference of the world to another death since it's so vast, and have completely nothing to do with the reference of artemis?
The edge
Added by: Carl
The moon has nothing to be sad about/ staring from her hood of bone. With these words, Sylvia leaves behind the world of ripeness and decay, and the organs which metabolize such ripeness, and becomes nothing more (nor less) than her own bones, the moon, the rocks, the unblinking light, which exist but do not subsist. The question is whether her suicide was the expression of emotional turmoil, an act of violence, passion, subtle revenge, or even triumph -- a question left open by the imcompletely transformed "crackling blacks" of the last line. The bones suffer no desire, not even for non-existance.
“Her blacks crackle and drag”
Added by: Laura Dunbar
The final line is significant to me in terms of the connotations with the word ‘blacks’;
“Her blacks crackle and drag”
‘Blacks’ is a well known theatrical term for stage curtains. This gives the whole poem a new angle for me. It is as though the persona is merely putting on a play. We are given the costume which is a toga, the setting which is in the garden; the extras are played by two small children who are acting dead. There are the many props such as the pitchers of milk and the petals and, finally, an audience of the moon.

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