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The Other Analysis

Author: Poetry of Sylvia Plath Type: Poetry Views: 201

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You come in late, wiping your lips.

What did I leave untouched on the doorstep---White Nike,

Streaming between my walls?Smilingly, blue lightning

Assumes, like a meathook, the burden of his parts.The police love you, you confess everything.

Bright hair, shoe-black, old plastic,Is my life so intriguing?

Is it for this you widen your eye-rings?Is it for this the air motes depart?

They rae not air motes, they are corpuscles.Open your handbag. What is that bad smell?

It is your knitting, busilyHooking itself to itself,

It is your sticky candies.I have your head on my wall.

Navel cords, blue-red and lucent,Shriek from my belly like arrows, and these I ride.

O moon-glow, o sick one,The stolen horses, the fornications

Circle a womb of marble.Where are you going

That you suck breath like mileage?Sulfurous adulteries grieve in a dream.

Cold glass, how you insert yourselfBetween myself and myself.

I scratch like a cat.The blood that runs is dark fruit---

An effect, a cosmetic.You smile.

No, it is not fatal.


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

.: the other analysis :.

Sylvia Plath wrote this poem in the same year, 1962, that her son Nicholas was born and the same year Ted Hughes, her husband leaves her and moves to London. These events could have a lot to do with the meaning of the poem because we also know that Sylvia Plath really wrote emotional and makes the poems about her own experiences and events that happen in her live. There are many different characters in this poem. There is the I, who is obviously Sylvia Plath, there is you, who could be Ted but could also be The Other and then there is the Other who could be the Other women but could also be the baby. Therefore, I believe that this poem is partly about giving birth or being pregnant of Nicholas and partly about Sylvia being paranoid that Ted Hughes is cheating on her with another woman.
The title, The Other, tells a lot about the meaning of the poem already. It suggests that Sylvia suspects that her husband loves another woman. The first sentence of the poem already supports this statement: “You come in late, wiping your lips.” You come in late is for a wife always a sign that something could be wrong. She is here being suspicious already. Then it says wiping your lips. People generally wipe their lips when they just ate or drank but in this case she could mean wiping of lipstick of “The Other”. The first sentence of the twelfth stanza also suggests her suspiciousness of him loving another woman because it says “Where are you going?” She is asking this because she is suspecting that he is going to see the other women. “Sulfurous adulteries grieve in a dream.” With this sentence she really makes it clear that she is referring to adultery in this poem. Sulfurous also means hellish and the fact that it is hellish adulteries makes it worse she is even more depressed about it. She is still not sure of all this though because she is saying that it grieves in a dream. Also in the poem it says: “I have you head on my wall.” This could mean that she feels that he is already gone.
The Other, however, can also be the baby. There are many words and phrases in the poem that demonstrate that the poem is about giving birth. This second sentence of the poem: “White Nike, streaming between my walls.” Nike is the name of the Greek Goddess of victory so Sylvia Plath is referring to white sperm cells flowing into her body. “Navel cords, blue-red and lucent.” This is later in the poem where she is, again, referring to birth because of the navel cords. At the end of the poem is says: “Between myself and myself.” She is here talking about how the baby is in her so the first time she says myself she is talking about herself but the second time she is talking about the baby because the baby is also part of her. These are some other words that have to do with giving birth or being pregnant: “Belly”, “Blood” and “womb of marble”.
Overall the mood of the poem is quit depressing and sad. The poem sounds almost suicidal because there is a line that says: “I scratch like a cat; blood that runs is dark fruit.” This could indicate that she is scratching herself but it could also mean that she is scratching him. Either way does not sound very joyful. Then the question comes up: Why would she write a depressing poem when she is pregnant? The reason for this could be that during her pregnancy, Ted Hughes is not home a lot and he is not giving her much attention although he should. That is why she says: “You come in late.”

| Posted on 2007-02-18 | by a guest

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