Sylvia Plath and poems about children

Although I think we can all agree Sylvia Plath’s poetry is, as a whole, both dark and heavily introspective, out of the collection her of works we have read, I found the disparity in her poems about her children (“Morning Song” and “Child”) to be particularly striking.


Plath contrasts the loving care she feels for her children with her introspective regrets and worries of her struggle through motherhood. Lines such as, “Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing,” from “Child”, and “And now you try / Your handful of notes; The clear vowels rise like balloons,” the closing lines of “Morning Song” seem a playful lament of the beauty and innocence of childhood. Plath contrasts these playful, loving lines with images such as “In a drafty museum, your nakedness / Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls” (from “Morning Song”), in which she reveals the uncertainty and confusion of having a child, and “Not this troublous / Wringing of hands, this dark / Ceiling without a star” (from “Child”) in which she emotes the sadness of learning and the possession of knowledge along with the conflicting desire to educated her son while protecting him from the dark, sadness the world has revealed to her.


So, my one question to yawl would be what do you think? Do you see these two poems as particularly striking? Poems such as Daddy and Lady Lazarus seem to have much darker and horrific undertones, but I felt like their more vengeful, dark tone made them almost less sad than the contrast of joy and sadness Plath depicts in the two poems about children. Do you disagree?


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