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•Sharp stanzas•A sense of peace that comes with death – “perfected” (1)•Separation of descriptors and nouns: “her dead – body”, “her bare – feet”•The “illusion of a Greek necessity” (2)oAlludes to Medea: killed her children for vengeance on her husbandoThis is a woman who’s carried the weight of the world on her shoulders•Diction indicates that she’s talking about poetry and her children•Tone: resigned- “we have come so far, it’s over” (4)•“Each dead child coiled, a white serpent” (5)oher children sucked the life out of her, restricted her oshe could no longer provide for them, can’t do justice to themoshe feels compelled by these “white serpents” (innocently evil) to kill herselfothe nurturing fountain of life – “pitcher of milk” (6) is empty9. Strumpet Song page 33•Written early in her career (Spider/Spinster/Sow era)•A strumpet = prostituteoParadoxical title: prostitute singing? oShould feel sympathy for the hooker“White frost gone” and “green dreams” (1) – purity, youth are all lostShe used to have a job: forced onto the street•MEN brand her as the “foul slut” (1)oUniversality that men are attracted to women of the night•“Mark, I cry” (2) – emphasizing a personal elementoprostitutes are often physically and sexually abusedo“I cry” – she (Plath) feels sympathy for these women – the I is Plath•“that seamed face’ (2) – wrinkled and stressedoviolent imagery heightened with “blotch, dint, scar”o“struck” : physical implications and metaphorical •Read as Question: “Walks there not some such one man” (3)oIsn’t there ONE man decent enough to see her as a woman? oHeal her from terrifying scowl, with loveoBeggar imagery: the prostitute begging for recognition“black tarn, ditch, and cup” (3)•the prostitute is anything but chaste (juxtaposition)oPlath is chaste and is the observer, noticing this strumpet (which is ironic because a strumpet is proud of her profession)This woman isn’t…she’s ashamed – “veers to her slouch”“bruit”: rumor
10. Virgin in a Tree page 81•ekphrastic poem: a poem based on a work of art (based on Paul Klee’s etching “A Virgin in a Tree”)•women who spend their lives in chastity- leads to neglect and bitternessoWomen who remain virgins: since the beginning of time (age-old edict for women)“Proverbs stitched on samplers” (1)•Word Play: “Approving chased (chaste) girls” and also “nun-black habit”oUsing examples from history of chaste women, goddesses who try to avoid contact with men by transformingoTurn into a part of the forest scene so that they can’t be pursued•DaphneoDidn’t want to be pursued for her beauty, turned into a tree insteado“Turned to her hard limbs like ivy” (3)othe Puritans (purists) laud chastity•SyrinxoShe preserved her chastity and foiled suitors by turning into a water reed•Pitys- avoided Pan (the satyr)•