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Sow Analysis

Author: Poetry of Sylvia Plath Type: Poetry Views: 2000

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God knows how our neighbor managed to breed

His great sow:

Whatever his shrewd secret, he kept it hidIn the same way

He kept the sow--impounded from public stare,

Prize ribbon and pig show.But one dusk our questions commended us to a tour

Through his lantern-lit

Maze of barns to the lintel of the sunk sty doorTo gape at it:

This was no rose-and-larkspurred china suckling

With a penny slotFor thrift children, nor dolt pig ripe for heckling,

About to be

Glorified for prime flesh and golden cracklingIn a parsley halo;

Nor even one of the common barnyard sows,

Mire-smirched, blowzy,Maunching thistle and knotweed on her snout-


Bloat tun of milk

On the move, hedged by a litter of feat-foot ninniesShrilling her hulk

To halt for a swig at the pink teats. No. This vast

Brobdingnag bulkOf a sow lounged belly-bedded on that black


Fat-rutted eyes

Dream-filmed. What a vision of ancient hoghood

mustThus wholly engross

The great grandam!--our marvel blazoned a knight,

Helmed, in cuirass,Unhorsed and shredded in the grove of combat

By a grisly-bristled

Boar, fabulous enough to straddle that sow's heat.But our farmer whistled,

Then, with a jocular fist thwacked the barrel nape,

And the green-copse-castledPig hove, letting legend like dried mud drop,

Slowly, grunt

On grunt, up in the flickering light to shapeA monument

Prodigious in gluttonies as that hog whose want

Made lean LentOf kitchen slops and, stomaching no constraint,

Proceeded to swill

The seven troughed seas and every earthquaking



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

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The language in the poem reflects both the neighbor\'s and the narrator\'s perceptions of the sow, and that language determines the reader\'s perceptions, leading him or her to believe it is a prized sow. The devices used to portray this false perception include: diction (word choice), devices of sound and images, and allusions.

| Posted on 2011-04-12 | by a guest

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The poem's original form was designed to look like a maze. By reading every other line the thoughts presented by Plath are completed, taking some of the confusion away."God knows how our neighbor managed to breed...Whatever his shrewd secret, he kept it hidIn the same way". People expected, from just glancing at the poem's beginning, to be told of a prized pig in all of it's beauty. However, Plath uses satire to accentuate the cliche "One man's trash is another man's treasure". Mystery had very little to do with the idea of what the pig should look like, Plath led the reader to believe it was a prized pig by telling the reader that it must be, due to the secrecy of the farmer.

| Posted on 2009-02-04 | by a guest

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A lot of enjambment is used in this poem. A way to approach it is by reading every sentence with one breath (no pauses) until you get to a period.

| Posted on 2008-11-21 | by a guest

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I feel that one has lsot some of the effect intnedng by Plath by reading it in that form. PLath had distinctive stanzas, but this typed from does not. Each stanza contained broken, uneven lines, causing the reader to think and slow down as they read, such as the person is doing while sneaking into their neighor's barn. I feel tha it is interesting that the word "brodbingnag" is used, as that is an imagitve land where everything is enormous. The people's imagination created an image of the pig in which they snuck to see, an image taht wasnt accurate, bu formed from mystery. Mystery inflates the mind; the people had no idea what to expect when they saw the pig.

| Posted on 2005-03-08 | by Approved Guest

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