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Pursuit Analysis

Author: poem of Sylvia Plath Type: poem Views: 16

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Dans le fond des forêts votre image me suit.

There is a panther stalks me down:
One day I'll have my death of him;
His greed has set the woods aflame,
He prowls more lordly than the sun.
Most soft, most suavely glides that step,
Advancing always at my back;
From gaunt hemlock, rooks croak havoc:
The hunt is on, and sprung the trap.
Flayed by thorns I trek the rocks,
Haggard through the hot white noon.
Along red network of his veins
What fires run, what craving wakes?

Insatiate, he ransacks the land
Condemned by our ancestral fault,
Crying:  blood, let blood be spilt;
Meat must glut his mouth's raw wound.
Keen the rending teeth and sweet
The singeing fury of his fur;
His kisses parch, each paw's a briar,
Doom consummates that appetite.
In the wake of this fierce cat,
Kindled like torches for his joy,
Charred and ravened women lie,
Become his starving body's bait.

Now hills hatch menace, spawning shade;
Midnight cloaks the sultry grove;
The black marauder, hauled by love
On fluent haunches, keeps my speed.
Behind snarled thickets of my eyes
Lurks the lithe one; in dreams' ambush
Bright those claws that mar the flesh
And hungry, hungry, those taut thighs.
His ardor snares me, lights the trees,
And I run flaring in my skin;
What lull, what cool can lap me in
When burns and brands that yellow gaze?

I hurl my heart to halt his pace,
To quench his thirst I squander blook;
He eats, and still his need seeks food,
Compels a total sacrifice.
His voice waylays me, spells a trance,
The gutted forest falls to ash;
Appalled by secret want, I rush
From such assault of radiance.
Entering the tower of my fears,
I shut my doors on that dark guilt,
I bolt the door, each door I bolt.
Blood quickens, gonging in my ears:

The panther's tread is on the stairs,
Coming up and up the stairs.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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"yellow gaze": it's a vivid image, in a dark forest. Focusing on his deep passion and no escape from it

| Posted on 2015-09-20 | by a guest

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Stanza 1 is full of control and power over the voice of the poem. The panther seems to be dominating the persona, making them fearful and afraid of what the panther will do next. The death imagery (e.g. 'rooks croak havoc') and the harsh assonance throughout emphasizes the great power with which the panther overwhelms the voice of the poem.

| Posted on 2014-11-17 | by a guest

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this is the single-most erotic poem i have ever read. -r.

| Posted on 2011-11-25 | by a guest

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This poem was in fact written before her relationship with Hughes started so it is interesting how she associaites death with him prior to their relationship.

| Posted on 2011-04-26 | by a guest

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This poem is fanatstic. This is what i gather from the poem...i stand to be corrected however. At the beginning we seem to be thrown straight into the pursuit and the first two stanza's are full of blood and violence. It comes across more like a challenge where she is being hunted down-hence the pursuit, and is trying to avoid this panther (aka Hughes). She states "His greed has set the woods a flame" suggesting that he has been greedy; he had her, then another women, and wants her again. His alluring nature are like "kindled" "torches" for women and easily uses them as bait. The speaker is still running up hills, which shows how hard it is to run away from him. She refers to 'yellow gaze', which she does manytimes times in her poems and i can only imagine this is to be about Assia's skin which she often refers to as yellow (see LESBOS). He is like a spell and even though she does not want him she has a guilty secret. She cannot help it. I think this only emphasises her love for him. He comes back to her, whether for love or sex and she herself is 'appalled by the secret want'. This poem says so many things and it is impossible to dissect now entirely. Please add or challenge my ideas or opinions as this is only my initial reaction to the poem. We love you Plath!!

| Posted on 2010-01-06 | by a guest

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