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Balloons Analysis

Author: poem of Sylvia Plath Type: poem Views: 29

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Since Christmas they have lived with us,

Guileless and clear,

Oval soul-animals,

Taking up half the space,

Moving and rubbing on the silk

Invisible air drifts,

Giving a shriek and pop

When attacked, then scooting to rest, barely trembling.

Yellow cathead, blue fish ----

Such queer moons we live with

Instead of dead furniture!

Straw mats, white walls

And these traveling

Globes of thin air, red, green,


The heart like wishes or free

Peacocks blessing

Old ground with a feather

Beaten in starry metals.

Your small

Brother is making

His balloon squeak like a cat.

Seeming to see

A funny pink world he might eat on the other side of it,

He bites,

Then sits

Back, fat jug

Contemplating a world clear as water.

A red

Shred in his little fist.


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

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Well the beginning represents the real moments of joy avalible in life, proven by the MOTHER's reaction to them (delighted)
The middle bit could be her explanation to her daughter that life is mysterious, hence the peacock feathers and dark imagery associated with attacking the balloon
The end is the realisation that joy is temporary, and cannot last. Her son pops the balloon and makes this realisation. She doesn't comfort him, perhaps she wants him to realise this - but he doesn't cry or moan, he understands

| Posted on 2017-09-21 | by a guest

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what are the similarities and differences between the 2 poems nettles and brothers?

| Posted on 2012-04-01 | by a guest

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The way she describes the balloons as \"Oval Soul Animals\" and etc.. is really interesting. This seems to be in her usual style of perceiving unordinary details and characteristics in ordinary objects. It is an expression of her fantastic imagination that twists reality into something else. Therefore describing the balloons as creatures that \"have been living with us since christmas,\" and who \"give a shriek and a pop when attacked\"
She also describes them as delightful and mysterious and, in her own words, \"queer.\" They delight the \"heart like wishes\" in a way innocent to how a peacock leaves a bright and colorful feather on the ground. In other words they provoke the imagination etc...
and then this is related in the scene with the child and the balloon, where he is intrigued by the red imaginative world he sees through the balloon and then when it pops he contemplates a \"clear world.\" This can perhaps show a contrast between the dream-like state of childhood to the harshness of objective reality.
The \"red shred in his fist\" maybe is either meant to give some morbid imagery to the dead corpse of what she described as empty creatures, or the representation of broken childhood dreams, or something to that affect.
Just some opinions, not laid out as properly as it could have been but I hope it helps some people in interpreting the poem regardless.
~Evan :)

| Posted on 2012-01-15 | by a guest

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i am also doing this poem as a drama audition for grade 8 and i was wondering if you could tell me what Sylvia means when she says yellow cathead, blue fish? also any advice for projection use would be very welcome:)

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

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hi, im doing this poem as a grade 8 drama audition so do you have any advise 4 me? :)

| Posted on 2010-11-03 | by a guest

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This poem is very deep .It is saying that Sylvia feels like sometimes her emotions feels like it is going to pop like a ballon.

| Posted on 2010-05-27 | by a guest

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all good poems are directly influenced by the poet's life & experiences. in this case, since she was bipolar, this might be about highs & lows in her life - her moods like balloons that might pop. also, she seems to be writing to this her daughter ("your small brother") so she must be trying to tell her daughter something. this poem was written in 1963 which was the year she committed suicide so this must have been written shortly before she did that (she killed herself in february).
given that, it seems to be about how childhood lets you see the world as a beautiful, magic, exciting place but at some point, innocence is lost - the balloon is popped - & the child grows up to see the world as it really is. however, this doesn't have to be a sad thing (the "brother" in the poem doesn't cry when his balloon bursts)..

| Posted on 2009-11-03 | by a guest

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