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Morning Song Analysis

Author: Poetry of Sylvia Plath Type: Poetry Views: 2695

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The Collected Poems1961Love 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 squareWhitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try

Your handful of notes;

The clear vowels rise like balloons.


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

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this poem shows plat\'s happy mood she adreses her new born baby.in her poetry we can find only two theme one is revenge and second is passion of love

| Posted on 2012-06-26 | by a guest

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morning star is about the unconidional love between a mother and her child. the cloud stanz is abot plath being a mother she now is a cloud in the wind and now that she has a child he rchild is the wind ,this represents a spiral and a spiral repersents un conditional love !

| Posted on 2012-05-29 | by a guest

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i believe this poem is about plath and her baby. Plath is feeling old and useless as she is \'cow-heavy\' and has lost her sexuality due to her new born baby.

| Posted on 2012-03-07 | by a guest

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The context of the poem, between the birth of Plath’s two children is the first suggestion that it is autobiographical. The use of first person ‘I’ and ‘we’ further suggests this idea, as Plath describes her emotions (and possibly those of the father) after the birth of their child. The personal and confessional nature of Plath’s poetry, including ‘I stumble from bed, cow-heavy’ suggests that she is disillusioned with motherhood, and feels like a service; unattractive and domesticated.

| Posted on 2011-05-16 | by a guest

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Plath represents a very negative attitude to motherhood, using unusual and subverted images to challenge the perceptions of motherhood which were commonly portrayed during Plath’s lifetime. Plath represents motherhood as alienating and a relationship with her children to be cold and detached. She writes ‘A far sea moves in my ear’, in which she utilises an unusual metaphor to stress the absence of an intimate and personal relationship, with the sounds of the baby in distress to merely represent the echo of an ocean a long distance away. Plath has an attitude that motherhood ensures a mother will lose her sexuality and attractiveness, representing this way of thinking through dreamlike poetry and the use of first person. She states in stanza five, “I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral’, a quote which emphasises her unattractiveness and loss of sexuality. The metaphor refers to how motherhood has reduced her to her tired, ugly and fragile state which display the draining affect of motherhood on a woman that she would feel exhausted. The use of cow suggests self loathing and a sense of total detachment from the human emotional world.
Finally, Plath views motherhood as unrewarding and one-sided. Lines four-six states ‘Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue. / In a drafty museum…’ These lines use onomatopoeia to exemplify the one sided communication which takes place, as the parents feel that the baby offers no tangible response. The usual or predictable images of the arrival of a child are subverted in typical Plath fashion, with the baby suggested as being a statue who offers nothing emotional nor physical to the parents. The baby is not alive, and the ‘museum’ suggests lifelessness and a lack of emotion. Plath is unrewarded for her efforts to communicate, feeling that the baby is synonymous to an unrewarding museum acquisition.

| Posted on 2011-05-16 | by a guest

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As a professor of English literature, nice job to the anonymous \"Posted on 2009-09-21\"!

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

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Stanza 3, to me, is one of true beauty and genuine poetic capability. It is one comparison, described with such tenderness, and yet its meaning so frank and almost detatched. Like much of the poem.
What Plath is telling us is that she is no more a \'mother\' than an origin of reflection. To her, her newborn is simply a reflection with which to watch herself age. The lines are so lovely- and even though \'I\'m no more your mother...\' Sounds harsh, to her, it is not a personal feeling. It is what, in at least one way, all mothers are. Throughly agree with the fact that this ideal may be linked to her own mother, and how she felt as though her existance was simply her mother watching her own reflection fading. Plath always had such a gift for writing harrowing and tender, alienated and yet personal pieces. Thank you, Sylvia. I always come back to y

| Posted on 2010-11-08 | by a guest

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THE ENJAMBEMENT, ON THE "The window squareWhitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons". THIS I THINK IT IS TO SHOW THE TIME PASSING OR x

| Posted on 2010-06-28 | by a guest

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I like the juxtaposition of the adjectives of the "fat gold watch" right at the start. Plath immediately sets up the ambiguous nature of the poem, with the contrast between the negative connotations of "fat" (both in images and in the plosive sound) and the often positive links to "gold", standing for value and an almost glittering sense of beauty.

| Posted on 2010-06-24 | by a guest

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this is a great poem..
welcoming a new baby to our beloved world!
the lady provides us on how joyful you first baby will bring to your family.
and how happy she is you hear is 'bald cry' which describes the babys first sounds.
awesome nik

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

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I want to know what she means when she writes, "The window whitens and swallows its dull stars". any ideas anyone?
the window is personified, it means that its swallowing the stars and whitening because its becoming morning.

| Posted on 2010-03-04 | by a guest

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actually i just re-read it and understand it now- so silly, its very clear!!!

| Posted on 2010-01-07 | by a guest

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I want to know what she means when she writes, "The window whitens and swallows its dull stars". any ideas anyone?

| Posted on 2010-01-07 | by a guest

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Morning Song is a poem which expresses the range of emotions which Plath experienced during motherhood. She talks of her detachment from the child and how she feels weary and tired due to her daughters cry throughout the night. She uses many language features throughout the poem to show how the arrival of her baby has affected her life.
The poems begins with a simple simile which forms a foundation for the poem as it allows us to work out what the poem is about. The first sentence signifies conception and is written monosyllabically for impact. The use of the word, watch, suggests time has already past and this gives the audience a brief idea of how Plath is feeling about motherhood. I sense that she feels time is being taken away from her and that having a child is an enduring responsibility. The watch could also represent the babys heart beat which is a constant reminder of the babys presence.
The use of the words, bald, cry, is well chosen. These adjectives describe the babys first cry; the words are again monosyllabic and give a sense of youth and braveness on the childs behalf. The way in which Plath approaches the situation seems a little surreal as the word, elements, in the first stanza signifies a sheer uniqueness within the emotions which Plath is experiencing.
The second stanza shows negative emotion more than the positive, overwhelming feelings which you would associate with the birth of your child. For example, Our voices echo, seems like an eerie way to describe the way in which she celebrates the birth of her child. The second stanza lacks sentimentality and shows a sign of resentment towards the baby from Plath. This is explained by a short two worded sentence, New statue. It is sharply worded and her word choice lacks beauty and innocence. This stanza throws a range of emotions into the readers mind such as anger, resent, pain and sorrow but also joy and fear which any new mother would feel. The use of the word, statue, also describes a sense of permanence which Plath has recognised now that her child has been born.
Plath seems quite vulnerable and is clearly fazed by the situation because of the language she uses. For example, drafty museum, creates an idea of distance between Plath and her daughter because of the old, cold nouns which she has used. Another simile is used in the second stanza which creates beautiful imagery into how Plaths reaction was. We stand around blankly as walls. This suggests an overwhelming yet fazed response to the arrival of the child, although this simile describes the reactions of others as well as Plath.
In the next stanza, the word, effacement, means to move away. This word connects to the opening of the stanza which is, Im no more your mother. This again creates a sense of distance between mother and daughter and opens up an array of emotions which Plath may be confused and puzzled by. Plath shows elements of worry and gives a sense of obligation in her reactions because of her detailed description of her quest to motherhood.
The following stanza features many carefully chosen verbs and nouns which describe the child and the surrounding and creates amazing images for the audience to experience what Plath, a new, young mother who suffered from post-partum depression after the birth of this baby. Moth-breath, describes the childs breath as delicate, sift and sensuous and shows a more positive view of the childs presence in Plaths life. Flickers, is an interesting verb to be used because it describes something which is flashing on and off which could signify Plaths emotions and how they are constantly changing as her life is taken over by her new child. This stanza portrays a very clear image of soft, gentle breathing in an old fashioned room and this can be determined by Plaths use of beautiful vocabulary. flat pink roses, suggest the state of the room in which Plath and her baby are. The description of the wallpaper is inanimate and therefore portrays a still view of Plaths life.
The final line of the fourth stanza, A far sea moves in my ear, uses sense imagery to create an image of sounds which come from the baby. The sound of the childs circulation and the general sound of a living healthy baby suggest that Plath is pleased with what she has created and does feel love for her baby but there is a change of speed in the poem at this point which pushes a sense of uncertainty into the works.
The fifth stanza begins with, One cry, I stumble from bed, cow-heavy, this is where the speed of the poem increases and Plath begins to feel anxious due to the cry of her baby. Throughout the poem there are mixed emotions which sometimes show how Plath is joyous and celebratory about the birth of the child but with one cry from the child, she can become weak and anxious about looking after her baby. Floral in my Victorian nightgown, is simple but powerful imagery which shows that she is tired and weary and feels unable to look after her child properly. The use of the word, cow-heavy, signifies a feeling which all new mothers feel. This phrase refers to her breasts and lactation and how her responsibilities as a mother are changing her body as well as her mind.
The final sentence of the fifth stanza is monosyllabic and reads, Your mouth as clean as a cats. This gives a unique view into Plaths view of motherhood. Her baby is now referred to as catlike, as well as a statue earlier on in the poem and as gold watch and this gives an ornamental yet alien perception of the tiny newborn. By carefully choosing the words in which Plath likens her child too she has created an image for the audience which suggests that her daughter is an item to treasure but these words also create a further distance between the child and her mother. Your moth clean as a cats, also describes the distinct and loud cry which Plath is woken by in the night.
The final stanza begins with a beautiful sentence which creates a very meaningful view of dawn. The window square whitens and swallows its dull stars. I think that Plath is cleverly creating an image of dawn which suggests a new chapter in her life and clearly shows a new day with a new child and a new cry. The cry of the baby is very symbolic in this final stanza because Plath ends the poem with, Your handful of notes, which describes a unique and new cry which can now be heard when dawn is breaking. And the final sentence reads, The clear vowels rise like balloons. Balloons to me mean short lived and temporary although a child is permanent. I think that Plath is describing the cry in such detail because it is a clear sign of new beginnings whether they be good or bad.
I enjoyed reading this poem because I think that the strong but simple imagery created is beautiful and I believe that the poem could be very beneficial to many people of the world. Plath gives a message which suggests that it is alright to be unsure when being introduced to motherhood and I believe that Plath wanted to show her audience that she is joyous of the arrival of her daughter but weary because of the hard work she is experiencing.

| Posted on 2009-09-21 | by a guest

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Morning Song, written just after the birth of her daughter Frieda, is a clever mixture of conflicting emotions felt by a new, young mother after the arrival of her first child. Plath almost certainly suffered from post-partum depression, and milk-fever, (as mastitis was then known) after the births of both of her children. The mother is obviously devoted to the baby, but there is a sense of obligation in her actions; she does not view herself as entirely competent, stumbling from her bed to attend to the child, and the third stanza is both surprising and oddly chilling for a poem concerned with an ostensibly joyful occasion. It cuts the bond between mother and child with one clean statement: Im no more your mother. The mother is a cloud, the child her mirror, created only to serve as a reflection of the speakers self, a means through which she can measure and test herself. The setting of a museum adds distance between the mother and her child, a statue to be marvelled at but crucially, not cuddled or nurtured.
Terribly frank, this is undoubtedly an allusion to Plaths difficult relationship with her own mother Aurelia who often seemed to live vicariously through her daughter. The speaker is an anxious young mother who cannot help but feel some ambivalence towards her new-born baby, along with a sense of isolation and a slight resentment of her new cow-heavy body. Even when attending to her child, the mother seems keen to view the child as separate; her mouth opens clean as a cats, an obvious symbol of independence. Even the tiny childs cry is likened to a balloon, an entity in its own right that will ascend beyond her grasp, although the demand is obviously for attention from the watching mother.
The baby never appears quite human; she is at once a gold watch, a statue and a cat, beautiful but ornamental and perhaps alien. The first two inanimate objects are fitting for the child is asleep; they also suggest great value, an item to be treasured. They do, however, help the speaker to distance herself from the child; perhaps she feels guilt over her ambivalence and does not trust herself to love the baby intimately. Establishing separateness enables the mother to explore her feelings properly, perhaps a positive and helpful endeavour, although it appears rather cold at first. A cat at least is alive, but still inhuman, aloof and independent from the mother. The only other animal cited is a moth, tiny and inscrutable, but causing a sea to resound in the mothers ear, a huge force. The mother is far from indifferent; whatever she feels for her small daughter, the emotions are great and the final poignant image, although further exaggerating the two characters individuality, connects the two, linked by their morning song.

| Posted on 2009-05-30 | by a guest

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I like the bit about the victorian nightgown, i think this sums up her commitment to the child. Victorian implies her old fashioned view on motherhood, the child is now her purpose.

| Posted on 2009-05-16 | by a guest

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Plath does not always write about Death, she writes about life, the role of women, a patriarchial society, children and the conflicting and confusing nature of the human mindset.
This poem regards how her child is now to take its role amoung the elements, thus being a hyperbold if one is relating to the predominate greek elements. It therefore also implies that her child is to almost god-like in the sense that it takes it place amoung air, water fire and earth rather then people and a materialistic society (shown through "a fat gold watch")
However Hippocrates united apects of the human body with the element; bile-fire, black bile-earth,blood-air and phlegm-water. Thus supporting the extended metaphor that the child is emplaced in an honoured position while still being a child (shown also through the holy conotation of "rising", innocent, glowing "nakedness" and musical aspect to the childs crying.
in support of this ambiguity and dual interpretation of "effacement", it does indeed mean to 'rub out' but it is also a pregnancy term used for the shortening of the cervix in early labour as well as to withdraw into the backgroung. therefore a sense of willing change is made regardless of the level of meaning undertook. The use of the air (distilling process and clouds) again rising both mother and child above earthy concerns, and yet at the same time medically referencing labour.

| Posted on 2009-02-25 | by a guest

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o Interesting because this is a poem about birth where Plath usually talks about death.
o Feelings of emptiness even though it is about a birth.
o She struggles between the realms of birth and deathshe feels love but also feels emptiness
o The child is a mirror of herexcept it focuses on the beginning instead of the end

| Posted on 2009-02-11 | by a guest

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Unlike her other poems Plath rarely uses any poetic techniques. can anyone see the paradox on stanza 1. Thankyou

| Posted on 2009-02-09 | by a guest

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I think the cloud stanza is about her relationship with her child. Plath is the "cloud" who has "distill[ed]", (distill (verb) (3.)-to create something new from the essential parts of something larger or longer; a.k.a herself) a child.
The child is a "mirror" of her, as it has come from her and will grow up to reflect her in appearance and character. And as she ages and is effaced, or worn out by the "wind", time, life etc. her child will reflect what she has lost in its own youth and vitality.

| Posted on 2008-11-02 | by a guest

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i disagree with you cloud analysis. It doesn't refer to the mother and baby growing further apart, since the last stanza implies that the mother now understand what the baby wants, she comprehends its cries, which are now "clear vowels".

| Posted on 2008-09-18 | by a guest

.: Cow Heavy :.

I think this should be ammended. Cow heavy would refer to her breasts and lactation rather than pregnancy weight.

| Posted on 2008-03-18 | by a guest

.: Analysis :.

The poem is about a baby being born. The life of the baby is "set going" like a fat gold watch just wound up. The midwife slaps the baby's footsoles, to start it's breathing, the baby takes it's place upon the elements; it has taken it's place umong the living creatures. The echoing voices are the "oohs and aahs", cries of joy from parents and others. The baby is like a new statue, an object that's "new in the collection", it's someone the people in the room have never seen before. (The distant view of the situation that's shared by Plath is her typical style of writing, it reflects her mindstate and way of thought.) The nakedness of the baby makes the others in the room feel more comfortable because they're all dressed. The connection between the relation cloud and the shadow and mother and baby reflects again the mindstate of Plath very well. She looks upon her newborn child, like a cloud would look at it's shadow reflecting herself. The "effacement"is the growing apart of mother and child, that will now begin to take place. She has carried the baby with her, as close as can be, from now on, child and mother will only grow further apart. The "pink roses" is the blanket, the child, breathes on with a "moth breath". The far sea is ofcourse, the constant noise of the baby, the mother has a sixth sense for. The second the mother hears a noise, she will go to the baby, stumbling "cow heavy" (she is still very heavy because of her pregnancy) in her victorian stile nightgown. The baby tries it's vocabulary, some vowels.

| Posted on 2005-03-23 | by Approved Guest

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