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Fever 103° Analysis



Author: Poetry of Sylvia Plath Type: Poetry Views: 1279

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The Collected Poems1962Pure? What does it mean?

The tongues of hell

Are dull, dull as the tripleTongues of dull, fat Cerebus

Who wheezes at the gate. Incapable

Of licking cleanThe aguey tendon, the sin, the sin.

The tinder cries.

The indelible smellOf a snuffed candle!

Love, love, the low smokes roll

From me like Isadora's scarves, I'm in a frightOne scarf will catch and anchor in the wheel.

Such yellow sullen smokes

Make their own element. They will not rise,But trundle round the globe

Choking the aged and the meek,

The weakHothouse baby in its crib,

The ghastly orchid

Hanging its hanging garden in the air,Devilish leopard!

Radiation turned it white

And killed it in an hour.Greasing the bodies of adulterers

Like Hiroshima ash and eating in.

The sin. The sin.Darling, all night

I have been flickering, off, on, off, on.

The sheets grow heavy as a lecher's kiss.Three days. Three nights.

Lemon water, chicken

Water, water make me retch.I am too pure for you or anyone.

Your body

Hurts me as the world hurts God. I am a lantern ----My head a moon

Of Japanese paper, my gold beaten skin

Infinitely delicate and infinitely expensive.Does not my heat astound you. And my light.

All by myself I am a huge camellia

Glowing and coming and going, flush on flush.I think I am going up,

I think I may rise ----

The beads of hot metal fly, and I, love, IAm a pure acetylene

Virgin

Attended by roses,By kisses, by cherubim,

By whatever these pink things mean.

Not you, nor him.Not him, nor him

(My selves dissolving, old whore petticoats) ----

To Paradise.






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

.: :.

A comment regarding the previous posts: the analysis in previous posts seem reasonable a well thought through. However I would like to say that the poems that Plath writes are not autobiographical, we can not assume that everything she writes is about herself even though she probably was influenced by her illness. In fever 103 Plath is not the speaker in the poem, sher never mentions anything of the sort

| Posted on 2010-09-09 | by a guest


.: :.

Fever 103
Plath fuses conflicting spheres to create an odd amalgam of the political, personal and the mythological. (This is a recurring element of Plath's poetry - see Lady Lazarus/Daddy where she combines the horrific treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust with her own psychological degeneration.)
What at first may appear an impenetrable conjuction of imcompatible worlds is in fact used by Plath to great effect. On a basic level, the bizarre fusion highlights Plath's inner turmoil and her mental illness. This is supported by the opening frantically questioning tone "Pure? What does it mean?" and the fractured structure. However, by refering to the legends of Mythology ("fat Cerberus/Who weezes at the gate" of hell) and political global calamaties (such as the atomic bombs of "Hiroshima"), Plath elevates her personal problems to the status of universal disaster. They are magnified to epic proportions. There are distinct echoes of Hiroshima in Plath's descriptions of herself. She asks "Does not my heat astound you. And my light.". This refers both to the way she sees herself as a kind of angel or divinity ("a pure acetylene/ Virgin" - the last word "Virgin" given particular emphasis and importance on its own line) and also the searing heat and intense light emitted by an atomic bomb. The "huge camellia" she pictures herself as is "glowing", This is not only a reference to the luminiscent beauty of the flower, but a sinister reminder of the radiation emitted at Hiroshima.
Many have criticised Plath for insensitively exploiting world wide tragedies in order to deal with her own problems. This is a narrow assessment. Plath does not aim to belittle the horror of Hiroshima. In fact, the fear of atomic fallout plays on her consciousness throughout much of her poetry. In Fever 103, Plath elevates the question of Hiroshima to a spiritual level, turning it to religious account as she repeats the damning lines, "The sin. The sin." Regardless of this, the aforementioned criticism fails to ackowledge the fundamental reason behind the beauty of Plath's poetry: its narcissism. It is inherently self absorbed. This allows for the intense levels of introspection and personal evaluation that makes Plath's poetry so powerful. Her language is charged with an incredible depth of feeling, as if bristling with an electricity of emotion. The way she probes the darkest resesses of her mind makes Plath's poetry so haunting and vivid.
Rebecca Holdsworth, Manchester

| Posted on 2008-10-20 | by a guest


.: :.

Fever 103
Plath fuses conflicting spheres to create an odd amalgam of the political, personal and the mythological. (This is a recurring element of Plath's poetry - see Lady Lazarus/Daddy where she combines the horrific treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust with her own psychological degeneration.)
What at first may appear an impenetrable conjuction of imcompatible worlds is in fact used by Plath to great effect. On a basic level, the bizarre fusion highlights Plath's inner turmoil and her mental illness. This is supported by the opening frantically questioning tone "Pure? What does it mean?" and the fractured structure. However, by refering to the legends of Mythology ("fat Cerberus/Who weezes at the gate" of hell) and political global calamaties (such as the atomic bombs of "Hiroshima"), Plath elevates her personal problems to the status of universal disaster. They are magnified to epic proportions. There are distinct echoes of Hiroshima in Plath's descriptions of herself. She asks "Does not my heat astound you. And my light.". This refers both to the way she sees herself as a kind of angel or divinity ("a pure acetylene/ Virgin" - the last word "Virgin" given particular emphasis and importance on its own line) and also the searing heat and intense light emitted by an atomic bomb. The "huge camellia" she pictures herself as is "glowing", This is not only a reference to the luminiscent beauty of the flower, but a sinister reminder of the radiation emitted at Hiroshima.
Many have criticised Plath for insensitively exploiting world wide tragedies in order to deal with her own problems. This is a narrow assessment. Plath does not aim to belittle the horror of Hiroshima. In fact, the fear of atomic fallout plays on her consciousness throughout much of her poetry. In Fever 103, Plath elevates the question of Hiroshima to a spiritual level, turning it to religious account as she repeats the damning lines, "The sin. The sin." Regardless of this, the aforementioned criticism fails to ackowledge the fundamental reason behind the beauty of Plath's poetry: its narcissism. It is inherently self absorbed. This allows for the intense levels of introspection and personal evaluation that makes Plath's poetry so powerful. Her language is charged with an incredible depth of feeling, as if bristling with an electricity of emotion. The way she probes the darkest resesses of her mind makes Plath's poetry so haunting and vivid.

| Posted on 2008-10-20 | by a guest


.: :.

Fever 103
In this poem Plath is ill and the illness is shadowing her life as hell shadows those who are damned. This poem explores the Plaths vision of hell and the horrors contained within, ‘The tongues of hell/Are dull, dull as the triple / Tongues of dull, fat Cerberus. This is viewed as Plath’s life on earth and her feelings towards the world and issues involving the environment, ‘Radiation turned it white’. The loss of purity and innocence, ‘Pure?’ the confusion in her life of whether she is in hell, damned. We feel the Plath is lost and looking for answers, she is scared and also depressed, ‘The tinder cries.’ She is making comparisons with the suffering world with hell and refers to images that are meant to be “pure”, ‘white’, ‘orchid’ and ‘candle’ as negatives, ‘snuffed’ and ‘ghastly’.
Overall this poem explores the feeling of horrors in her life that are enhanced by her illness and she cannot explain why her life is so mixed up in it all.
Ethan

| Posted on 2008-09-19 | by a guest


.: acetylene in fever 103 :.

the acetylene metaphor is used as acetylene can produce a bright light as well as amazing amounts of heat, following with the other metaphors such as the japanese lantern and the camellia

There is reference towards mythology. Fat cerebus is the three headed dog which hercules had to capture. There is also biblical allusions as three days and three nights was the period of time that jesus was in the heart of the earth before his resurrection. This biblocal allusion also acts as a medium for portraying plath as a virgin, such as the virgin mary.
Hiroshima was the city first attacked with an atomic bomb in warfare. The radiation from this is refered to as the 'leaopard' turns white. The smoke/smog is also used to objectify love, as choking her as well as the weak and meek.

| Posted on 2004-09-09 | by Approved Guest




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