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The Night Dances Analysis

Author: poem of Sylvia Plath Type: poem Views: 22

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A smile fell in the grass.


And how will your night dances

Lose themselves. In mathematics?

Such pure leaps and spirals ----

Surely they travel

The world forever, I shall not entirely

Sit emptied of beauties, the gift

Of your small breath, the drenched grass

Smell of your sleeps, lilies, lilies.

Their flesh bears no relation.

Cold folds of ego, the calla,

And the tiger, embellishing itself ----

Spots, and a spread of hot petals.

The comets

Have such a space to cross,

Such coldness, forgetfulness.

So your gestures flake off ----

Warm and human, then their pink light

Bleeding and peeling

Through the black amnesias of heaven.

Why am I given

These lamps, these planets

Falling like blessings, like flakes

Six sided, white

On my eyes, my lips, my hair

Touching and melting.



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

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Thoughts on the Night Dances
Perhaps Plath means to express something about the consolation and fragile remains of love as expressed in a fluid weaving of metaphors of those briefly manifest then gone moments; mementos of what remains of what we cherished most dearly: a beloved child sleeping? Or a lover observed post-coital, under the night’s falling stars, turning to each other, smiling as they lay head to head in fragrant grass. The poem seems to ruminate on the quicksilver passing of tender things: the warm spray of light from comets passing though the unbearable null of space, which mirrors the distances between souls, sparked and quickened by irredescent moments of the passing tail, or falling like a blessing like the geometric perfection of snowflakes on the face of the one who remembers; of human lovers like flowers, lilies different in appearance and in manifest temperament, yet like the light of comets, or of mathematically unique and exquisite snowflakes, or the grass green smile of a long-gone laughing lover, or of a beloved child, sleeping and sweetly exhaling the tender perfume of life, Plath’s poem invokes these things held in the isolate universe of the writer’s memory, flickering tokens of that which we loved most and hold close in the face of the IN void.

| Posted on 2015-06-10 | by a guest

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All of you need help... here is really what it means;
"In ‘The Night Dances’ a mother watches her child asleep and moving around in its cot. These moments seem to be the beautiful gifts of innocence. They create in her a sense of fullness of being which, momentarily, lightens “the black amnesias of heaven.” But it is only momentarily. The contrast between the cold blankness of space and the baby’s movements (“their pink light/ Bleeding and peeling”) makes us aware of the fragility and vulnerability of such “blessings”. And that is why the ending is just right in its ambiguity. The ‘light’ of the night dances can never be destroyed and will nowhere be forgotten. But “Nowhere” can also imply that they touch and melt in the nothingness that is all there is. In other words, perhaps the blessings are nothing, that they are too insubstantial too wipe away the “black amnesias” for x

| Posted on 2014-07-31 | by a guest

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I agree with the comment about nihilism-- it seems to me to be about the pain of the meaninglessness of death, the questioning of why the pain when it is inevitable and meaningless.
Totally agree it fits in w/ the whole idea of her as suicidal but think it\'s arguable whether one can blame suicidal thoughts on a person\'s husband. I\'m sure he didn\'t help but not everyone had the interior struggles of Plath.

| Posted on 2011-09-27 | by a guest

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\"Whoever commented on this forum already is ridiculously stupid. This poem clearly portrays the vulnerability that Plath has because of the suicidal thoughts and severe depression, that are all caused by her husband Ted Hughes.\"
Poetry has no set meaning. It means something different to different people. That may have been Plath\'s personal meaning, but it doesn\'t mean the other people are \"ridiculously stupid.\" :)

| Posted on 2011-04-11 | by a guest

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I think she is wondering what her son is dreaming about...

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

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Whoever commented on this forum already is ridiculously stupid. This poem clearly portrays the vulnerability that Plath has because of the suicidal thoughts and severe depression, that are all caused by her husband Ted Hughes.

| Posted on 2010-05-23 | by a guest

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I think the night dances are dreams, and its all about what dreams are like and how they travel through space and they're really out of this world.

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

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When I first read it I thought it had quite a potential for nihilism. The nothingness that is connected with night frequently appears throughout the poem, this clearly has a suggestive negative connotation.

| Posted on 2010-02-28 | by a guest

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to me, this poem is about the scent of flowers in the dark and how their bright petals seem vulgar in comparison to the plain elegance of the flower's gesture to the night.
Janis Tsai

| Posted on 2009-12-27 | by a guest

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