In this poem, Sylvia Plath expresses a desire to be in control. She feels she has to deal with a dangerous situation. At first she is not in control. She panics. She has a debate with herself and then she makes a calm decision.
Silvia Plath wrote this poem in seven five-line stanzas followed by a single line.
On one level Plath is simply recalling a personal incident. The story of the poem concerns a task with a bee box. In the first stanza she states that it looks like ‘square’, like a midget’s coffin, heavy and noisy:
‘such a din in it’. The word ‘coffin’ suggests death. The overall description of the bee-box is strange and disturbing.
In the second stanza, the bee box both frightens ...view middle of the document...
Then Plath introduces a new image for the bees. She imagines that the bees are maniacs and that she can send them back:
‘I have simply ordered a box of maniacs’.
As her nerves steady, she realises she can starve them to death and ignore them:
‘They can die, I need feed them nothing’.
Maniacs are not as bullying as a Roman mob. They are far less threatening than an army of vengeful African slaves. Plath’s imagery shows that her state of panic is gradually reducing. At the end of the fifth stanza, Plath begins to feel powerful again, in a negative sense: ‘I am the owner.’
In the sixth stanza Plath feels different. She imagines the bees are ‘hungry’ rather than ‘angrily clambering’. Now she can see herself undoing the locks.
She realises the bees will fly to where they will get honey and leave her alone. They will ignore her, especially if she stands there like a tree. They will fly towards flowering plants:
‘There is the laburnum, its blond colonnades,
and the petticoats of the cherry’.
In the seventh stanza Plath accepts her role as...