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World Authors Project - Sylvia Plath

Literary Devices

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Literary Device Analysis

Morning Song
by: Sylvia Plath

Taken from "Arial," 1966

 
Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

Analysis:
 
Plath's "Morning Song" is an ode to the birth of her son. The poem chronicles birth to life, utilizing smilie, metaphor, personification, and structure to bring the words and images to life.
 
The poem is rich with simile and metaphor. Plath and Hughes stand as "blankly as walls." The baby yawns with a mouth as "clean as a cat's." The baby's voice coos as "vowels rise like balloons." All these images work together to bring life to the words and creates visual and auditory imagery.
 
The personification that reigns througout the poem serves to bring a bounce and a spring to Plath's language. The cloud "distills a mirror," the vowels "rise like balloons" and the baby's moth-breath "flickers." This device serves to create a clearer visual in a reader's mind, everything is moving, thinking, and living. This further illustrates Plath's theme of life as emphasized my the baby's birth.
 
The stucture of the piece is extremely clear. Plath's syntax is extremely uniform; three lines to a stanza. This serves movement in the poem, the poem flows easily due to smooth transitions from image to image. Each thought is separated into different stanza. This serves the poems magical quality, it moves as though Plath were plucking the strings of an instrament, steady. 

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World Authors Project - Sylvia Plath - Sarah Zemach