April 22 2012
Formal Essay #2.
The poems “metaphors” by Sylvia Plath and “the mother” by Gwendolyn Brooks both have the same theme of pregnancy. Alongside “hills like white elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, they talk about the trials and tribulation that comes with having being pregnant.
Sylvia Plath begins the poem with a riddle which gives us a clue to the structure of the poem and its theme, she says, “I’m a riddle in nine syllables” (Plath line 1). A woman carries a baby for 9 months. The writer also uses the first 9 lines for the 9 month s of pregnancy, by describing herself as nine syllables. She also uses metaphors to describe the pregnant ...view middle of the document...
Lines four, five, and six also explore her discomfiting position in relation to the unborn child. The child is centre-stage, while the mother is just the stage, on which the act will be played out. Thus, the woman is a means to an end, more like a stepping stone; just like a breeding cow is valued for the calves she produces. The fact that the apples are green also has a meaning. Green apples are sour. It can also mean unripe fruit, which is known for causing violent pains in the belly. The apple could have a biblical meaning; in the book of genesis, Eve is punished for eating the fruit from the forbidden tree by being cursed to having pains in child bearing or during labor. The train the woman can’t get off is not only the pregnancy, but the unavoidable birth process, which the pains of consuming unripe apples suggest. The train (the baby) “is due”, just as she is. Nothing will stop the train until it arrives at its destination and the baby is delivered. The woman has no choice but to deliver her body to this process she cannot control.
The mother by Gwendolyn Brooks ‘main theme is abortion. Unlike in “metaphors” where Plath offers the conflicting emotions felt during pregnancy, this poem talks about the regret in the countless abortions she had and excuses the writer gives for having it. The speaker in the poem asserts that the act of abortion would haunt her for life: an albatross would be hung around her neck. The tone of the poem is accusing with the constant use of “you”. It is not personal; she’s giving an objective view of abortion. The line:” You remember the children you got that you did not get” is a paradox. The poem starts by stating that one cannot forget the aborting of a child. She remembers these children and the people that they could have become. She regrets not being able to perform motherly duties. She is haunted by the children she aborted and wishes that she could have raised them and regrets that she robbed them of the life that they would have had.. But, she also believes that she made the right decision at the time. The statement "abortions will not let you forget"(brooks line 1) alone sets the tone for the poem. She obviously does not forget what she did and then goes on to describe why she will never forget it. With the line "I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children"(Brooks 13) shows that she is haunted by her past decision and her dead children. She has tried to cope with her decision but still suffers from it. She suggests that she...