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Wintering Analysis

Author: poem of Sylvia Plath Type: poem Views: 15

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This is the easy time, there is nothing doing.

I have whirled the midwife's extractor,

I have my honey,

Six jars of it,

Six cat's eyes in the wine cellar,

Wintering in a dark without window

At the heart of the house

Next to the last tenant's rancid jam

and the bottles of empty glitters ----

Sir So-and-so's gin.

This is the room I have never been in

This is the room I could never breathe in.

The black bunched in there like a bat,

No light

But the torch and its faint

Chinese yellow on appalling objects ----

Black asininity. Decay.


It is they who own me.

Neither cruel nor indifferent,

Only ignorant.

This is the time of hanging on for the bees--the bees

So slow I hardly know them,

Filing like soldiers

To the syrup tin

To make up for the honey I've taken.

Tate and Lyle keeps them going,

The refined snow.

It is Tate and Lyle they live on, instead of flowers.

They take it. The cold sets in.

Now they ball in a mass,


Mind against all that white.

The smile of the snow is white.

It spreads itself out, a mile-long body of Meissen,

Into which, on warm days,

They can only carry their dead.

The bees are all women,

Maids and the long royal lady.

They have got rid of the men,

The blunt, clumsy stumblers, the boors.

Winter is for women ----

The woman, still at her knitting,

At the cradle of Spanis walnut,

Her body a bulb in the cold and too dumb to think.

Will the hive survive, will the gladiolas

Succeed in banking their fires

To enter another year?

What will they taste of, the Christmas roses?

The bees are flying. They taste the spring.


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

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This poem was written in one of the coldest winters in 100 years. It was also the year before her death. Nature could have been foreshadowing her death itself, with coldness, showing no sign of life (no temperature).
6 jars of honey represents 6 years of marriage with Ted Hughes, she is saying that she did what she needed to do.
When she refers to the \"room\" it is about the new house she has moved into after her separation with Ted Hughes, bringing her children with her.
Because she had children it was difficult for her to write poems - the only escape from her depressing life. This means she had to wake up extra early (4 or 5) to work on her poems, then attend to her children, cook, clean, do the motherly chores she was never good at as she was a feminist.
This is why the new room was suffocating, she could not breathe, she did not feel alive here.
Repetition of black colours represent memories of either he Father, Ted Hughes, or even both. They still get to her, own her, and make her life miserable.
It is interesting to see that she represents herself as the Bees along with all other women because her father was an expert on bees, and was a professor at a college. It suggests that her father knew alot about her, and about how to treat women, yet he didn\'t do it so well. = relates to the quote \"only ignorant\"
There is a contrast to all the dark, no light, blackness with the whiteness of the snow, it is a sign of life, and purity. That the darkness hasn\'t consumed her all the way yet.
\"they have gotten rid of the men\" - she has finally let go of the men, and is trying to move on with her life, even in the unbearable cold.
She does have a hopeful attitude, but she is still not sure whether she is going to make it or not. Hence the questioning in the last stanza. \"Will the hive survive\" - will what is supporting her (bee) life, survive, and will the \"gladiolas\" (plant that produces honey) keep feeding them.
\"to enter another year\" - still unsure, but she closes the poem with a hopeful sentence.
\"the bees are flying. they taste the spring\" suggesting that she did want to make another year, and had a positive attitude, she had tried to keep away from the darkness and kept the light.
However she had died the next year, 1963 in February, in that suffocating house, suffocating herself with gas.

| Posted on 2010-11-26 | by a guest

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