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Fever 103°

Sylvia Plath

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we need help!
Added by: Kimberley
A friend and I are analysing Fever 103 and are somewhat confused about the entire text. So far all we know is that Plath is writing about how you perceive things when you're sick. Could you please give us a little more to go on than just this!!??!!?? We need help desperately.
I need help!
Added by: Lucy
I know that fever 103, lady lazurus and Daddy are all about Death and rebirth with references to war, hell, heaven etc. I was just wondering why these poems are inspiring and shocking??
Understanding Plath
Added by: genius guy
'Fever' is about the overwhelming influence society has on people who are grappling with self-identity. Does this speaker really have a fever, in the physical sense? No! She is simply attempting to comprehend who she is. She is confused, lost, hopeless in her self-confidence and ego. Some people have suggested that she and her baby both have a fever, but the poem is too self-centred for this to be true. Oh, and for you people who are struggling with the concepts dealt with in this poem, do not be scared. Simply open your hearts and your minds and do some 'stream of consciousness writing'. Just start typing and you'll be amazed at the words your fingers type. Just be true to yourself and the ideas and answers will come to you. Good luck in your quest to understand the depth and magic of Sylvia Plath!
what does it mean?
Added by: soph
Fear is a major concern for the speaker. it is why the poem is so ambiguous in its depiction of imagery. she is so wraught with fear that the things she conjures go deeper than the state of mind that is still rational. it is like trying to decipher plath's stream of consciousness. impossible. of course you can interpret, but you will never actually know.
Added by: cass
Some great comments, but all have all failed to pick up on the obvious and important sexual connotations which occur mainly in the second half of 'Fever'. This empowering poem sees Plath taking control, "I am too pure for you" (addressing a man), whilst imagery such as "I am a lantern" refers to Plath's internal fires of sexual desire;"Does not my heat astound you." Plath recognizes her longing for a man, but is also aware that she does not need one to satisfy her sexual needs. The continuous reference to flowers evokes a beautiful, feminine atmosphere; "I am a huge camelia", is a metaphor for the female genitals, and conjures up a strong sense of rebirth and life. "I think I may rise-/The beads of hot metal fly..." signifies Plath's climax and she is comforted in the knowledge that she does not need a man ("Not him, nor him"), allowing herself to float "To Paradise."
My opinion
Added by: Lisa G.
(Once again, I was disconnected from the Internet in the midst of submitting my comment, so I'll try again. Hopefully there won't be two identical comments.)

I think this poem is about the tension between good and evil. In it the speaker is torn between her desire for perfect purity and her desire for carnal pleasure. This makes her feel like a feverish person experiencing hot and cold flashes. I don't think the poem is as autobiographical as "Daddy" or "Lady Lazarus."
Fever 103
Added by: Julie
Pure? What does it mean. To me the poem is about the questions of sin, identity and rebirth into another realm. I see some social aspects, those who will not rise, so to speak, perhaps the meek, or think of the ghastly orchid, a meeting of heaven and hell, typical in Plath. What burns you, are you in motion, rising from the ashes, reborn and forgiven from the original sin. Do we get caught in the wheel,the samsaras of death and rebirth over and over again. It is absurd,but Plath defies time, space gravity and the preconceived notions of hell, heaven and purgatory. As I dissolve in my feverish state.. old whore petticoats, even I a woman, the great sinner can make it to paradise. Not you nor him nor him, can stop me.
Added by: tiff
Plath is discussing how she likes having a high fever. SHe wa s a suicidal woman awho was deeply depressed and she had a sickening love to be in pain. The thought of the fever killing her was a wonderful weird moment for her
''acetylene Virgin''
Added by: Alexis
I agree with cass on everything except her last analysis. The ''beads of hot metal fly'' and ''i am an acetylene virgin'' do not indicate anything about her having reached climax. instead, the hot beads of metal flying through the air tempt her and would ignite her if they came in contact with her ''acetylene.'' she desires sexuality, but fears it would kill her perhaps?
Fever 103
Added by: Kt
I have just analyzed the poem for an essay I had to write for a class. I think it's about her husband, who cheated on her. She makes many references to fires and candles, seeming that she is relating their love to a fickle flame. She makes reference to a lecher, defined as a man who is lewd and lustful. She makes reference to a leopard, from which if you remember the old saying "A leopard cannot change its spots," a biblical allusion relating to Jeremiah 13:23. She also talks about her fragile state of mind, referring her head to be "a moon of japanese paper.. .infinitely delicate and infinitely expensive." The speaker is absolutely betrayed and heartbroken, yet there is hope, for the speaker also seems to rise above it all. Just as Jesus rose from the dead after three days (the number three also playing a very important role in the poem,) the speaker will rise. The speaker is pure, and the speaker's old selves are "dissolving"- a chance for rebirth. I don't know if that's right, but that's what I got from the poem.

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