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Tulips by Sylvia Plath

Uploaded by hurr.i.cane.87 on Jan 02, 2005


“I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free—”

Sylvia Plath longs for freedom, as expressed in the poem ‘Tulips’, not from enslavement or death, but from life and “little smiling hooks” that cling her onto the living, and from the red, vibrant tulips.

The tulips define the opposing white. They represent the outside world, and life, spring and warmth. They distract Plath as she lies on her hospital bed.
“I am learning peacefulness”.
The violent and invasive tulip-red disrupts her peacefulness from the numbing clinical white. She calls herself “nobody” but the dynamic tulips explode the serene quietness of the hospital room.

There is the suggestion of a traumatized past. White symbolizes negation — a “nothing”ness. There is a sense of defeat. She is devoid of all feelings. She is alive but not living. The hallmarks of humanity have deserted her. She wants to reject and renounce everything away.
“I have given my name and my day-clothes to the nurses
And my history to the anaesthetist and my body to the surgeons.”

She is trying to escape. Her sense of self-esteem is destroyed — she has lost her identity and wants to slip into oblivion.

She calls herself a “pebble” — something inanimate. The nurses tend to her body as water tends to pebbles — they “pass and pass” trying to smooth her wounds. The rhythmic and soothing properties of water etches deeper symbolism into Plath’s narrative process.

“They bring me numbness in their bright needles”.
She is in utmost despair. In the loss of herself, she finds tranquility. Inspite of being alive, she wants to embrace death. She wants to be purified and cleansed because she wants to be pure when she embraces death. She feels guilt-ridden when she looks at the photo of her husband and child. She wants to escape but they keep her hooked on.

She perceives herself as a lumbering “thirty-year-old cargo boat” who has been “swabbed” clear of all loving relations. She has shunned all her once precious possessions — her teasets, bureaus of linen and books. She feels that her “associations”, turmoil and dirt are being washed away when the doctors clean her with anti-septic before operation. She feels that she is being cleansed and cleaned of her soul when the water is bent over...

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Uploaded by:   hurr.i.cane.87

Date:   01/02/2005

Category:   Poems

Length:   4 pages (795 words)

Views:   2041

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