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Biplob Prodhan
  • 1 month ago
  • 56
How does Sylvia Plath present motherhood in her poem Morning Song’? [NU. 2016)

Ans. A number of poems of Sylvia Plath deal with mothering Sylvia Plath is not sentimental about motherhood. It is not an unambiguously blessed state in her work. The most obvious positive statement about children is “you’re”, which can be read as a celebration of pregnancy. Here Sylvia Plath captures the affection and eagerness of the expectant mother. “You’re” and “Morning Song suggest that Sylvia Plath saw babies as unique, individual personalities; the child is never simply an extension of the mother in her poetry. She observes babies closely, showing us the wonder of new life through her use of unusual and unexpected metaphors and similes to describe infants.

“Morning Song” was written by Sylvia Plath after the birth of her first child, Frieda. She intended that it should be the first poem published in the ‘Ariel’ collection. The tone is different from the cheerful mood of “you’re”, although the poet continues to explore feelings and ideas about motherhood that are familiar from the earlier poem.

From the first word “Love” onward we find the great affection and tenderness the mother feels for her child. She is protective, waking to listen to the baby’s cries, to which she responds immediately. She stumbles from her bed to feed her. Sylvia Plath’s descriptions are as precise and original as they were in “you’re”. Here she concentrates on the sound the child makes, its first ‘bald cry’ (line 2), its breathing (moth breath. lipe 10), further cries (line 13) and, finally, cooing (last two lines). She also introduces an intriguing simile that suggests the baby’s otherness (the mouth which opens ‘clean as a cat’s’). It is not that Sylvia Plath feels alienated from the infant (as some critics have suggested). Rather she senses the child’s individuality; she knows that it is not simply an extension of herself. This is why she says “Love set you going”: why, in the third stanza- using the natural imagery of clouds and the wind-she reminds the child that she is not looking in a mirror when she gazes at it. In the fifth and sixth stanzas the baby is clearly dependent on the mother to fulfil her needs, but she is also independent when she tries out her “handful of notes”. The simile in the last line closes the poem neatly, returning to the positivity of the opening word; the child growing already, making progress as she acquires language. The final simile catches the wonder of this development exactly.

We can copclude saying that Sylvia Plath’s achievement in this poem is to capture the reflective and occasionally uneasy joy of the new mother. We can assume that it is the first experience of being a mother.

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