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Lady Lazarus

Sylvia Plath

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Added by: MW
I've only read the first page of these comments. Therese's comment is the only one that seems to have any intelligence behind it.

It is utterly untrue to say that one should never have to research a poet's life to understand their poems. It is true that you can attempt to understand their poems without researching their life - in Sylvia Plath's case in particular, an understanding of her life will give you a DEEPER understanding of her poems. If you only want a surface understanding of her poems, then you don't need to research her life. Her poetry was intertwined with her life. It is not possible to have a full understanding of her poems without attempting to fully 'understand' her life (even then, it is not completely possible).

Many poets write out of their own life experiences. While it is possible to 'gain' from reading a poem without knowing about the poet's life, it will often leave you with a more shallow understanding.

I can't remember who said this, but - the note that Sylvia left was not left for someone to find HER in time before she died. It was left so that someone would realise that the children needed to be seen to (hence partly why it was left taped to the children's pram). She would not have still been alive whether the home help had arrived earlier or not. She had her head stuck as far into the oven as possible - it only took a few minutes for her to die and that happened long before anyone would have been there.

It is also not possible to speculate that if only she'd been found 'on time' she might have lived another '10' years. I think you might be taking Lady Lazarus a bit too literally.

It is also not known at all that Ted Hughes burnt her last journals. Nobody knows what happened to them. There is a possibility that they may still turn up one day - there are archives still closed that won't be opened until 2013.
Added by: Sara
Lady Lazurus is a wonderful poem if you want to "feel" depressed. But when you are able to pick it apart you realize that this poem seems to be more about her defiance to the men in her world. Each time she attempts suicide she becomes stronger. She is able to conquer death, to a certain degree, at least until her final and successful suicide attempt. I have never read that she had for a fact tried to drown herself besides in her poem, which poets may make up or exaggerate in order to put a certain point across. A poem requires lots of things, including analysis to a certain degree, with evidence to back it up.
poet,or speaker?
Added by: ESsie
I learned in poetry class that when confronted with a poem, we are not to associate it with the poet. This really frustrates most poets, because sometimes they just like to create a work out of imagination. You can't think that an actor's character in a movie is really how his personality is. Poets create an imaginary speaker and we must decipher who the speaker is and who the audience is, and not probe into the poet's background
does no one else notice this?
Added by: Linnea
has no one else noticed all the references she's making to food?

"peel off the napkin / oh my enemy / do i terrify? --- / the nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth? / the sour breath / will vanish in a day"


"gentlemen, ladies / these are my hands / my knees. / i may be skin and bone . . . "

"Ash, ash -- you poke and stir. / flesh, bone, there is nothing there -- "

do you catch my drift?
and finally, most convincing of all;

"out of the ash / i rise with my red hair / and i eat men like air"

this is soooo obvious, i can't believe no one else has noticed. have you ever wondered why so many autobiographies about eating disorders use parts of this poem?
Added by: Linnea
KaZ, your theory doesnt fit with what is currently known about sylvia plath at all. when she attempted suicide by taking sleeping pills, that was not an attention-seeking thing. she hid under the stairs and didnt want to be found. i dont know any of the information your talking about, but if a doctor was called, i'd say that it was because she didnt want her children left alone in a house while the gas from the oven was still on. and also, what makes you think sylvia plath knew how long it would take for the gas to kill her? your theory doesnt make any sense.
Help! I need to find literary anal. for a project
Added by: Tanya B.
Please help me out people and explain how Lady lazarus shos literary analysis or historical criticism, I'm totally freaking out right now I need to write a paper about it and present it by tommorrow!!! email me please people! tanya_brianna@yahoo.com
this poem!!
Added by: aj
I am studying her at the moment and i believe this is one of her most powerful poems.
Here she displays herself as powerful, and able to control life and death. she acts as if she is a god with immortality.
Usually plath plays the victim of her madness and depression in most her poems e.g. 'tulips' , howeveer here even though she is not powerful at the start as she is not succesful in commiting suicide i find it humourous in a twisted way that she thinks herself to be a miricle being able to survie death so many times. This new found pride which is not really represented in her other poems amuses as well as facinates me.
it shows what a complex character Plath is.
Finally my advice to anyone reading her poetry is to read teh Bell Jar it will give you great insight!
Added by: bs
i'm guessing (based on the movie) that 'Lady Lazarus' is supposed to allude to her suicide attempt(s?) however, when reading the poem i noticed how well it relates to the repetitive cycles of manic depression. when you're bipolar you go through times of 'omg im so tired i feel like im dead! i'm a walking corpse!!!' and then one day you wake up and you're like 'hooray! it's a beautiful day! life is so great!' and once in a while you're just 'eh' normal. before i started on prozac i used to be like that since i was a kid. i think for people with depression (which is what sylvia supposedly had) they still go through cycles of 'omg i wanna dieeee' to 'eh'-neutral. i think the poem might be about that...

just a thought...
Lady Lazarus
Added by: Raven
Plaths imagery in this poem is extremely strong. She talks about oppression and being made a spectacle of, som e obscene attraction. Her voice for revenge against opressive men is very powerful in this piece. I agree that she talks about returning to life to take revenge.
Dying is an art, like everything else
Added by: Alexis
Linnea, I agree. I noticed the eating disordered references the first time i read this poem also. In addition, i read the wrenching memoir Wasted by Marya Hornbacher, and she makes references to Lady Lazarus multiple times throughout her autobiography. ''Dying is an art, like everything else/ I do it so it feels like hell/I do it so it feels real/I guess you could say I've a call.''
It's almost as if she takes pride in her craft of self annihilation, and i know for afact that sylvia struggled with eating throughout her young adult life. Anyways, i just thought id comment on what you said!

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