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Two Sisters Of Persephone Analysis

Author: poem of Sylvia Plath Type: poem Views: 26

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Two girls there are : within the house

One sits; the other, without.

Daylong a duet of shade and light

Plays between these.

In her dark wainscoted room

The first works problems on

A mathematical machine.

Dry ticks mark time

As she calculates each sum.

At this barren enterprise

Rat-shrewd go her squint eyes,

Root-pale her meager frame.

Bronzed as earth, the second lies,

Hearing ticks blown gold

Like pollen on bright air. Lulled

Near a bed of poppies,

She sees how their red silk flare

Of petaled blood

Burns open to the sun's blade.

On that green alter

Freely become sun's bride, the latter

Grows quick with seed.

Grass-couched in her labor's pride,

She bears a king. Turned bitter

And sallow as any lemon,

The other, wry virgin to the last,

Goes graveward with flesh laid waste,

Worm-husbanded, yet no woman.

Submitted by Shawna Senko


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

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This poem is missing the last stanza of the poem which should be
"Inscribed above her head, these lines:
While flowering, ladies, scant love not
Lest all your fruit
Be but this black outcrop of stones."

| Posted on 2017-03-02 | by a guest

.: :.

The poem \"Two Sisters of Persephone\" by Sylvia Plath presents a straightforward theme at first sight, but develops into a mythological allegory as the poet discusses the role of women in the era that the setting is placed.
Title: When initially observed, the title \"Two Sisters of Persephone\" stands out as a literary meaning of two sisters of the Greek goddess Persephone. When observed to a deeper extent, however, it is found that the title holds significance in relation to the poem\'s theme and plot. \"Two sisters\" can be depicted as two dualities-dual personalities existing in one individual. The Greek goddess Persephone is the Queen of the Underworld, and certain details of the poem relate to her myth which is a symbol of the revolving cycle of life. Since the poem revolves around the idea of two contrasting personalities following different paths, the title is able to relate to the deeper meaning of the poem.
Punctuation: The seemingly inconsistent use of punctuation in the poem is, in fact, a method that Plath uses to emphasize on the contrast between the two figures. The use of colons and semi-colons to break the flow from one personality to the other proves her transitions between the figures. Furthermore, Plath strictly adheres to a specific form of seven four-line stanzas, but in each stanza, a different placement of commas and periods. This action can be interpreted to show the large contrast in one form, a theme discussed in the poem and the title.
Language: Throughout the poem \"Two Sisters of Persephone,\" Plath harnesses diction and figurative language to convey a double meaning of her words. These lines can be interpreted in many ways due to the number of references to nature, color, etc. For example, the terms \"duet of shade and light,\" \"dry ticks mark time / hearing ticks blown gold,\" and \"within the house, one sits; the other without\" all contrast the two personalities through references to nature and color. Feminine and sexual imagery is also used later in the poem: \"Grass-couched in her labor\'s pride / she bears a king...the other, wry virgin to the last / goes graveward with flesh laid waste.\" The lines in the last three stanzas suggest female fertility, yet another contrasting topic in the poem.
Syntax: Plath defines a specific form of syntax and grammatical arrangement of her lines to create a specific literary device: enjambment, creating meaning between the last line of one stanza and the first line of the succeeding stanza. The use of enjambment creates a double meaning of the poem and is critical in understanding the theme; it also prevents the reader from pausing at the end of a stanza and forces the attention immediately towards the next.
Tone: Plath uses a cynical and bitter tone to reflect that regardless of the two different personalities, both end up in death and bitterness. The first sister working on math is the side of her who values her virginity. However, if she never finds a partner, society sees her body as a waste. The second sister becomes pregnant and possibly married. However, the poem describes her to be \"bitter and sallow.\" This leads one to believe that she is not truly happy, and both eventually end up with the same fate. Plath\'s cynical and bitter tone successfully conveys this message.
Dualities: Light and darkness, color, freedom and lack of freedom, and fertility and infertility are all several major dualities addressed in \"Two Sisters of Persephone\" to compare the two sides of Persephone. The uses of several antitheses successfully compare and contrast these two lives of Persephone through natural and sexual imagery, as well as color and structure.
Elements: The poem uses structure, tone, and imagery to depict two very completely contrasting lives of a renowned Greek deity. Plath\'s constant shifts between glee and woe, two emotions relatable to women, seem to prove her attempt to describe female identity of the era: to lead a successful married life, as demonstrated by neither personality in the body.

| Posted on 2013-01-14 | by a guest

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In the surface layer of the poem its just two women,one that works and the other that is a mother. This idea of the two women is important, because it shows the different roles of women in society. On one hand a woman could work and wouldn\'t be view well in society\'s eyes or on the other hand they could be a mother and bear a \"king\" and be viewed well in society\'s eyes. This poem leans towards the motherly role more than the working women\'s role, but both have negative aspects about them.

| Posted on 2012-09-18 | by a guest

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This poem is all about choices. On one hand you could be the dark sister, sitting alone in the dark and not willing to open up. On the other hand you could take a risk and live your life as best you can.

| Posted on 2010-03-09 | by a guest

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The spirit of these two sisters of Persephone, perhaps, struggled in light and shadow within Plath's mind. Plath, likewise, must have struggled between the world of Hades and six months of darkness, or light with Hyperion making his way across the heavens.
Apparently, and to the sorrow of many, Hades seems to have won in real life, for Plath placed her head in an oven one day, turned on the gas and left this world a sadder place.

| Posted on 2009-09-24 | by a guest

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Though the poem may refer most directly to the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, I personally believe it is a reflection of how our society determines a woman's worth simply be her beauty and feminine characteristics.

| Posted on 2008-09-27 | by a guest

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Though the poem may refer most directly to the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, I personally believe it is a reflection of how our society determines a woman's worth simply be her beauty and feminine characteristics.

| Posted on 2008-09-27 | by a guest

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