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Sylvia Plath And Lewis Carroll How Meaning Is Discovered Throughout The Poems, "Elm" Plath And "Jabbawocky" Carroll

2352 words - 9 pages

In the poem 'Elm' by Sylvia Plath and the nonsense poem, "Jabbawocky" by Lewis Carroll, meaning is discovered by the poet's choice of diction, the imagery throughout the poem, the metaphors and their meanings and other poetic devices. Even the authors' background can influence the poem. These elements all contribute in creating a deeper understanding of the events occurring within the poem, meaning is found.Many of Sylvia Plaths' poems have been described as 'gothic literature', and she too claims to be a 'female gothic'. The term gothic is still being studied and has much controversy of a set definition. In Plaths' poetry it's the reader has been given an alternative, darker meaning to that of their true meaning. The darker poetry some believe may be due to the time in which she was writing, time the world was recovering from the effects of war. (Fang 1). Also 'Elm' deals with the narrators' personal experiences of madness, pain and depression and the poem has often been associated with Plath's personal experiences of these issues which are divulged in her autobiographical novel "The Bell Jar." Having an understanding of the authors' background and influences can change meaning within the poem. Elm opens with the sentence "I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root…I have been there." (Plath 192) This opening line can be related to several personal experiences of the narrator for example the fact that the narrator claims to "know the bottom with her great tap root," (Plath 192) This implies that the narrator knows the "bottom" of life, or the lowest point of depression. Also with the narrators "great tap root" (Plath 192), the roots of her existence are set in depression. This sentence also implies that the narrator is a woman as perhaps the narrators "great tap root" (Plath 192) This is a figurative representation of her genitals and she knows the "bottom" (Plath 192) of life because hierarchically as a woman she is at the bottom of society. (Fang 1)The narrator's experience of madness and depression is reflected consistently through metaphors. (Plath, 25) The narrators madness is experienced when she claims "…now I break up in pieces, that fly about like clubs…"(Plath 192) this image may be a metaphor for the narrator having a mental breakdown due to depression as she "break[s] up in pieces," (Plath 192) the image of these pieces then flying around like clubs, connotes that they are prepared to hit something or someone. This violent and uncontrolled image suggests that the depression of the narrator is dangerous to others and even to herself. The narrator also claims "a wind of such violence will tolerate no bystanding: I must shriek". (Plath 192) The fact that the narrator will tolerate no by standing and that she feels she must shriek, perhaps once more refers to her inability to control herself which has evidently resulted in her experience of madnessThe narrator's experience of madness and depression...

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