analysing poetry-mushrooms by sylvia plath

Category: Education

Presentation Description

A poem exploring nature and society written by poet Sylvia Plath. Created for students studying AS level English Literature


Presentation Transcript

Slide 1:

Analysing Poetry: Mushrooms by Sylvia Plath A Feminist Perspective


Sylvia Plath Born: October 27 , 1932 Died: February 11, 1963 1947: Plath won an award for her paintings from The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards 1940: H er father Otto Plath dies a week and a half after her eighth birthday 1950: Plath attended Smith College 1953: Plath made her first medically documented suicide attempt in late August 1956: Married Ted Hughes 1960: Frieda, Plath’s first child was born 1962: Plath discovered Hughes had been having an affair 1963: Plath gasses herself to death in her home


Structure Allegory 11 stanzas of 3 verses Voices/Tense 1 st Person Plural Us/ We never ‘I’ Present tense Language Lexical Fields of: Nature The Body Furniture Rhythm Unrhymed however the brief stanzas provide some rhythm

Different Contexts: :

Different Contexts: War The poem could be about the way in which war effects society- and the unexpected impact that it has Mushrooms, could be taken to represent the shape that a bomb makes The Cold War- people coming together and taking over (communism) Feminism The idea that women are not appreciated within society That they are seen as inanimate objects, that don’t really belong The oppressive treatment of women Plath: Biographical Perspective Themes of fertility and new generations New generations of girls/women prepared to fight against society

What can we learn from the title?:

What can we learn from the title? Mushrooms Literal meaning , a fungi that appears overnight, often trodden on, insignificant and unwanted ‘Trodden on’ and ‘insignificant’… could she be expressing how she feels women are treated within society What do they look like? Plath may be talking about the unexpected and destructive nature of war

Stanzas One, Two and Three:

Stanzas One, Two and Three Overnight, very Whitely, discreetly , Very quietly Our toes, our noses Take hold on the loam , Acquire the air. Nobody sees us, Stops us, betrays us ; The small grains make room. A sudden, effective and unanticipated threat Delicate body parts that are seen as womanly Use of p ossessive language , represents how women had to ‘acquire’ such a basic need and fully illustrates how low they were within society Women were ignored Possibly a biblical reference, Plath is showing that men betray each other-women don’t Enjambment the mushrooms cannot be contained/ the women are determined to succeed

Stanzas Four and Five:

Stanzas Four and Five Soft fists insist on Heaving the needles, The leafy bedding , Even the paving. Our hammers , our rams , Earless and eyeless , Here Plath highlights the traits that make women appear inferior to men Soft skin Physical weakness Plath also emphasises the importance of persistence and how the women are slowly gaining ground Plath continues to show that the women's persistence is their greatest weapon Oxymoronic

Stanzas Six, Seven, Eight and Nine:

Stanzas Six, Seven, Eight and Nine Perfectly voiceless , Widen the crannies, Shoulder through holes. We Diet on water, On crumbs of shadow , Bland-mannered , “ asking Little or nothing . ” So many of us! So many of us! We are shelves , we are Tables , we are meek , We are edible, Metaphorical description of their disadvantage within society Women lived in the shadow of their husband, they were submissive and obedient ‘asking little or nothing’. The cadence and rhythm of the stanza mimics that of a nursery rhyme- subconsciously imposing the role of mother onto the women Language related to domesticity- reinforcing the stereotype that a women’s place is in the home

Stanzas Ten and Eleven:

Stanzas Ten and Eleven Nudgers and shovers In spite of ourselves. Our kind multiplies: We shall by morning Inherit the earth. Our foot's in the door. Plath is saying that despite the men’s perceptions, women can be strong and even violent Plath uses the Biblical reference to show that women deserve to gain freedom and independence Women have the vote, all they need now is to break away from the housewife stereotype

Main Themes: :

Main Themes: The oppression of women within society The impact of a combined effort The underestimation of nature and how it relates to society

Slide 11:

This presentation was created by poetryhelp101 with the main aim of aiding students taking AS level English Literature.

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