third poem

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third poem

Post  Ms.B on Sun May 10, 2009 7:52 am

I enjoyed reading your entries about Dickinson's poem. I especially like the fact that you can respectfully disagree and support your claims. Just to throw in my own two cents: the word "alabaster" means white and is often associated with heaven. If that strengthens or changes your interpretation, I don't know...

This week I am going to up the ante (that means raise the stakes, which means make things more difficult). How? Why? Oh no!!! you exclaim as you roll your eyes and heave your long-suffering sigh. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO POST A FIRST ENTRY LONGER THAN 6 LINES.

Yes, you read correctly. I want you to initially comment on ONE and ONLY ONE word or phrase from the poem. You have 6 lines to make your point. Please do not comment on more than one idea. Please do not refer to anyone else's post in the first entry. you should read through what has already been said to assure that you say something different -- otherwise you will not receive credit. please comment on a DIFFERENT word or idea than what has already been said. Last week many people piggybacked off an idea that someone else stated and then added a bit to it. Doing that this week will negatively affect your grade. I want 13 different observations this week.

For the second entry, you can go to town (that means write as much as you want), but it should not be posted the same day as your first entry. I want you to look at the poem at two different times.

Remember, the first entry must be made by Wed. and the second made by Friday. For people in the play (ONLY!), you are not expected to respond to someone else's response on Thursday or Friday. You may do it by Sunday night.
your poem this week is by Sylvia Plath and it's titled "Childless Woman" -- I hope

Childless Woman
The womb
Rattles its pod, the moon
Discharges itself from the tree with nowhere to go.

My landscape is a hand with no lines,
The roads bunched to a knot,
The knot myself,

Myself the rose you acheive---
This body,
This ivory

Ungodly as a child's shriek.
Spiderlike, I spin mirrors,
Loyal to my image,

Uttering nothing but blood---
Taste it, dark red!
And my forest

My funeral,
And this hill and this
Gleaming with the mouths of corpses.

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Re: third poem

Post  Luisa on Sun May 10, 2009 6:37 pm

In the poem, "Childless Woman", the central message can be identified in line 4 through the expression that describes the moon's discharging from the tree. This line reveals the child's death since it is "discharged" or, removed, from the woman's womb. Sylvia's decision to put "the moon", the subject of line 4, in line 3 next to "pod" also leads the reader to assume that the moon is representing the child. The fact that it has nowhere to go enlightens the idea of motionlessness, no life; hence, the idea of death which confirms the title "Chidless Woman".


Last edited by Luisa on Sun May 10, 2009 10:56 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: third poem

Post  Bibi on Sun May 10, 2009 7:07 pm

“My landscape is a hand with no lines,”

The "landscape" is her scenery, her viewpoint of what could be her life, her experiences, even her future lying ahead, and to say that it’s a “hand with no lines” is to reveal that it’s something blank, meaningless and dim, no prospect of betterment. The speaker’s feelings of hopelessness and vagueness are also emphasized in this line, given that a “hand with no lines” represents a lack of identity; this unfulfilled exigence of giving birth that has crushed her expectations and led her to believe she is useless and worthless because she is “childless.”
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Re: third poem

Post  Bia on Mon May 11, 2009 7:27 pm

"Ungodly as a child's shriek."
The idea of the child’s shriek makes allusion to the "death of the child" and to the woman's inability to have offsprings.The word shriek impacts, for it stimulates a feeling of agony and immense affliction to the reader.This feeling is so miserably forceful that it must be “ungodly”, meaning that not even god would want this to happen to anyone. Insterestingly, the sorrow expressed in this line, spreads throughout the poem, allowing the reader to think that this shriek can never be silenced, child and mother will infinitely cry their suffering.
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Re: third poem

Post  ana on Tue May 12, 2009 4:52 pm

"Gleaming with the mouths of corpses."

The word "gleaming" caught my eye as I read, since it is contradictory in the sense that it conveys the idea of brightness while the context it is placed in reflects death, with words such as "corpses" and "funeral". Yet, it fits perfectly with the poem, since the lost child was referred to as the "moon", which gleams. Thus, the word that stands out in the stanza-- "gleaming"-- brings back the image of the "moon" and suggests that more than one child has died.
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third poem first reply

Post  leitz on Tue May 12, 2009 5:12 pm

The phrase "this ivory" demonstrates the ditsress of the mother at seeing the dead child as well as expressing the value of that lost, and the beauty it could have possesed. The fact that the body is described as ivory, a skin colored substance of tremendous value, that can only be gathered through killing the host, implies that the child had his life taken, and all though he is dead, he is still beautiful and of immeasurable value emotionally. However while ivory is beautiful it is also cold and lifeless, demonstrating the worthless beauty and value of dead loved one taken from you.

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Re: third poem

Post  rapoch on Tue May 12, 2009 7:01 pm

"Uttering nothing but blood---"


The selected line reveals the speaker's inability to accept being a childless woman. The expression "nothing but" directly shows the woman's frustration and disappointment, for it belittles the blood being discharged from her empty womb. In addition, "blood" itself enforces the idea that she is not pregnant, for while pregnancy disrupts the menstruation cycle, the fact that blood is being expelled from her body confirms her childless state. Finally, the verb "uttering" is a sound-related verb which contrasts with the shriek of a baby which ought to have been sent out of the womb instead of blood.
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Re: third poem

Post  Milla on Tue May 12, 2009 7:50 pm

"The roads bunched to a knot"

In this verse, the speaker refers to her future as a "childless woman". The image of road suggests journey, the passage of her life and because it is plural, it may suggest more than one outcome of her life, all the choices and expectations she has. It can also be interpreted as the cicle of a person's (woman's) life: to marry and raise a child. But the roads are "bunched to a knot", which block its passage keeping it from being trespassed and the journey from being traveled, therefore preventing the woman from living the life she expected and wanted. Her plan was interrupted because she didn't have a child. The knot refers directly to her inability of having a child.
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Re: third poem

Post  Mai on Tue May 12, 2009 8:41 pm

When the speaker says "My funeral", she is not describing her literal death, but the death of all of her dreams, her disillusionment regarding her inability to become pregnant. The "dark red" blood can not only be an evidence of the continuation of her menstruation cycle - hence proving her inability to reproduce - but of the crashing of her hope of becoming a mother and being eternally devoted to her child, which is evidently of great importance to the speaker, since the tone of lamentation revolves around her "childlessness".
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Re: third poem

Post  Oscar on Tue May 12, 2009 9:59 pm

"Myself the rose you acheive---
This body,"


In the first selected verse, the speaker compares herself to a "rose", which is a symbol of her reproductive organ. However, by designating it using the third person, she defines it as a separate entity from her body, as if it were autonomous - this is the "rose" which "achieve[s] this body", not the speaker herself; thus, the speaker strengthens her lack of control over the birth. Furthermore, the fact that the lost child is designated as "this body" highlights the motionless feature of a inanimate, dead baby.
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Re: third poem

Post  Nabiyah on Wed May 13, 2009 8:35 pm

"Childless Woman
The womb
Rattles its pod"


The speaker, the "Childless Woman", describes the way infertility has made her body aimless and horrible, and "the womb"is compared to a dried-out plant referring to "rattles its pod". Being that the "womb" is a "plant", and is dependent of water,the fuel for life and for her happiness would be the life of a baby inside the "plant" in her body. Nevertheless, the "childless woman" is dependent upon a child to fullfill a complete happiness and procede with living.
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Re: third poem

Post  ana on Thu May 14, 2009 2:15 pm

I agree with Bibi that the landscape means the speaker's reality and I think it is not "possibly" but in fact the future, since it is a "hand with no lines", and considering that many people believe (and it is common knowledge that they do) in "reading hands" to see a person's future. If her hands have no lines to be read, they have no future-- she has nothing. This idea of total loss ties in to Mai's comment on the "funeral" and how it proves the speaker's lack of prospects.
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Re: third poem

Post  Bia on Thu May 14, 2009 5:54 pm

I agree with Ana that even though the poem has a melancholic tone, the speaker (consequently the author) explores the use of positive diction to contrast the child from the moment of sorrow; to show how joyful and "gleaming" the woman would have been if she was fertile. It is interesting to have the child compared to the moon. The moon can always be seen from far away, which associates the idea that although the speaker is "childless", she will always "look at the moon" admiring it, but knowing that she can never have it.
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Re: third poem

Post  Luisa on Thu May 14, 2009 9:24 pm

I thought Sylvia was very creative in revealing the childless woman's distress through mixing words that refer to different senses (synestheasia). When she says "uttering nothing but blood, taste it, dark red!" she encompasses the sense of sound which can be inferred through "uttering", the sense of vision through her reference to blood and its taste. I particularly believe this is helpful in terms of showing a true mixture of feelings that goes on inside the woman's mind as she is forced to deal with her infertility and thus, complete hopelessness. The description of blood's color as "dark red" leads to a negative perspective towards the blood, as does the woman's imperative tone while saying "taste it", showing her abhorration with such a situation, also confirmed by the use of an exclamation mark to show her indignation.
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response to response

Post  leitz on Thu May 14, 2009 9:47 pm

I agree with Oscar's statement that the "rose", as a symbol of the feminine organs being refered to in thrid person demonstrates the distancing and seperation between the mother and child, the former having little if any control over the birth and pregnancy.Going back to my commentary, the use of "ivory" to describe the child, shows a detachement, the inability to create an emotional bond with the child. Furthermore, by reffereing to the child as a seed in a pod as mentioned by Nabiyah, we see the lack of control on part of the mother, for once a pod opens it can no longer protect, control or interact with the seed; it becomes for all intents in purpose lifless, dead.

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Re: third poem

Post  Mai on Fri May 15, 2009 12:27 pm

Sylvia Plath is able to establish an extremely morbid, painful, and melancholic tone as a result of her lost, and exposing how traumatic it is to lose a child, an how significant a child is to a parent. This poem can be looked upon as a valuable lesson to children and parents, considering that the speaker is suffering due to her inability to have children, characterizing herself as "the knot that "bunched" the roads and pathways of her life; making it possible to infer that the speaker will feel eternally miserable.
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Re: third poem

Post  rapoch on Sat May 16, 2009 5:16 pm

the moon
Discharges itself from the tree with nowhere to go."

When reading these two lines a couple of ideas came to my mind. Most of them might seem a little bit TOO MUCH, if you know what I mean, but since we can go to town, I don't see why not give it a try. Well, I agree with most people when they say that "the moon is representing the child". But, I have another explanation to why that is so.

First of all, the moon is a product of nature, just like a child. Furthermore, since we are dealing with the child as a symbol of splendor and life, but who gets discharged and thus causes the speaker's emotional funeral, nothing more appropriate than the moon. As we know, behind the moon is the sun, symbol of splendor and life as well. Its path gets blocked by this natural satellite which not only hides the light (motif for hope and happiness), but brings with it the night and all of its negative connotations including death, funeral, corpses, etc.

Furthermore, another idea that abruptly appeared on my mind was the image of the moon being sent out of the "tree". A "tree", in my perspective, symbolizes not only nature, but Mother Nature itself. It is the entity that gives life through its fruits, grains and seeds. Therefore, the "tree" is a representation of the childless woman for she is the one who discharges the child "with nowhere to go". The association made between the child and the pod (dried-out plant) becomes even clearer for the child-seed is derived from the woman-tree. But, because it is no healthy child-seed, it is portrayed as a pod due to the fact that life-water has been sucked out from it, making it dead-dried.

I hope you enjoyed my hyphenated neologism. It is actually pretty efficient when you want to establish relationship between terms. Very Happy
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Re: third poem

Post  Luisa on Sat May 16, 2009 9:39 pm

ms.b you didnt post or send me the "while reading" guide for death of a salesman. Please send it to me as soon as possible! (I know you\ve been caught up with the play and everything - it was awesome by the way!) sunny
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Re: third poem

Post  Bibi on Sun May 17, 2009 11:12 am

"Spiderlike, I spin mirrors
Loyal to my image."


To say that what the speaker is suggesting in these two lines intrigues me is to say the least, and to be quite honest, the first time I attempted to visualize such imagery, I felt repulsed by her self-description, -- I am not very fond of spiders. Of course I can’t fully understand her, but then again, how could I? She is lamenting her inability to have a child, missing something that she never had; truth be told, up till now, the possibility of such sentiment never seemed reasonable to me.

First of all, to say that she is like a “spider,” such a grotesque, horrific, disgusting creature is to enhance the already morbid atmosphere of the poem, emphasizing the dry morose mood conveyed by the author. Plus, the fact that she “spin[s] mirrors” is an indication of her seeking to understand her state / identity, and being more than one “mirror” shows how she is trying to visualize what she has become through her reflections. The hopelessness lies in that she can look at whichever angle she wishes and through any type of reflector, her image will continue to be the same, there is no escape route. Not to mention that a “spider” doesn’t really “spin mirrors,” however, this unrealistic description adds in that it’s as if she has built / assembled this image, her reflections, by herself – so she is the only responsible for the “knot,” “no lines,” “ivory,” and “dark red” blood she visualizes in her essence and in her future. When the speaker says that these “mirrors” are “loyal to my image,” she is reiterating the idea that all these negative connotations, to describe her uselessness as a “childless woman,” are what she considers to be truthful to her figure; self-esteem at its lowest. This is the identity, it might as well be the lack thereof, she has risen for herself when facing the apse of an existence crisis and having to deal with one thing in life she cannot control or fix: now that’s true agony.
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Re: third poem

Post  Milla on Sun May 17, 2009 10:45 pm

I liked and actually enjoyed reading Raphael's interpretation of the "moon" discharging from the "tree", and I do see a connection between his analysis with the poem's meaning. By reading the phrase, at first, one may notice that there is no relationship between the moon and the tree. Yes, they are both elements of nature, but they are not connected to be "discharged", there is no relevance between both objects. These objects were not meant to be together, which may be a reflection of the unfortunate event of the woman's inability to have a child. The moon is also described as having "nowhere to go", which suggests that the moon has no end, no objective or aspirations to get to; it is lost, which is exactly how the woman feels without her child, her life, which is also generally known as the conotation of a tree.
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