Plath's poem "Tulips"

Essay by goalgetteraliHigh School, 12th gradeA+, March 2003

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Much of Silvia Plath's work reflects on her emotional condition at certain points in her life. In her poem "Tulips" she describes the emotional voyage she takes battling life and depression. Using metaphors and other poetic devices, she is able to show that turmoil in her mind. By explicating this poem, a meaning can be found behind every line that relates to this.

Throughout the first stanza, Plath sets up an image that is tranquil and sleepy using a scenario of winter and white snow. The tone is frozen and very disconnected. The first line begins with "The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here." She speaks of the tulips as if they were annoying. This is the only mention of something vibrant and alive in this stanza. The second line continues with "Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in". She wants to die peacefully, and life is like the tulips, bright and annoying.

She is tired of being blanketed by things that have no meaning (represented by the snow). The third line, "I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly", is saying that her vibrantness is dying. She is beginning to blend in with the "snow", and is becoming blank and brainwashed. The next line is a continuation of this thought: "As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands." In this line Plath indicates that her hands are lifeless, just as the other inanimate objects she mentions are, by mentioning that they are under the light together. In the fifth, sixth, and seventh lines with

I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.

I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses

And my history to the anesthetist and my body to the surgeons.

The reader...