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Tinsley 3-1.1 Draft - Emily Tinsley English 102 C Mulligan...

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Emily Tinsley English 102/ C. Mulligan 11 November 2009 Sylvia Plath: “Gigolo”
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On first appraisal, Sylvia Plath’s “Gigolo” is an illustration of her own immovability and righteousness while also pointing out the lame existences of those around her by using intense imagery, trenchant diction and a number of literary devices. Be more specific: alien aquatic metaphors? When we discuss poems, it is conventional to always refer to the speaker, even if we know the speaker is the poet herself. Cacophonous refers to the literal aural sounds of the poem—I think you’re reaching for the idea that it sets a tone of unease or discomfort. Push harder. What does the absence of photographs mean? Why is it so pivotal that there be no reminders of her children? Of her family? Explain that this reinforces the speaker’s alienation from her role as mother/daughter/wife. Push harder here too. These are powerful images of servility, bondage, and subjection— not a wedding ban but a (painful) ring through the nose!--that clearly marks the body of the woman speaker as wife, chattel to her husband. Think also about what it means to ignore the cries of your children—the potential selfishness (and as you point meglomania) of that desire for silence. Not just fish, “fish hooks” another image that suggests the sharpness of ensnarement, capture, and bondage. Is she imagining being gutted by other woman? Are her “snazzy blacks” and the trendy cache of that phrase the armor that protects her from such entrapment? Eggs and fish—weird combination, also something to think about: fish lay eggs. Yet again the union of maternity and pescatology as you noted above. Cello music is somber and deep, almost like one would imagine hearing music as vibrations underwater. Why all three things together? Think about how they might be related. Push on this. What is the purpose of making this outrageous comparison to God? Is she making herself a martyr? A savior? Her own savior? Here’s where you really nail it, Emily. Plath uses tangible commodities in terms of material wealth to promote herself. Is it an effort to compensate for her obvious insecurities and failures as a mother, a wife, a daughter? Furthermore, isn’t there also a decided creepiness to the image? I am thinking of King Midas here—who wants to be made of gold? Why is Plath associating herself with Pre-Revolution French decadence and power? What is the allure of the oasis in the midst of Paris? Good, say why she does so. End with a bang not a whimper! What are we left with in the end with this dream of the gilded speaker with no family, no past, who shall never wither and grow old? Fontainebleu endures but is it just a hollow monument? Is the speaker fulfilled or just drinking hatorade from her own fountain? Is she Christ and her only disciple?
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Emily, this is a good beginning, and I’ve suggested a number of other issues for you think about as you continue to expand. Thanks again for volunteering!
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