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A STYLISTIC ANALYSIS

of METAPHORS

by: Angela Pimentel

METAPHORS

Sylvia Plath

1 I'm/ a/ rid/dle/ in/ nine/ syl/lables, 9


2 An/ e/le/phant/, a/ pon/de/rous/ house, 9
3 A/ me/lon/ strol/ling/ on/ two/ ten/drils. 9
4 O/ red/ fruit/, i/vo/ry/, fine/ tim/bers! 9
5 This/ loaf's/ big/ with/ its/ yeas/ty/ ri/sing. 9
6 Mo/ney's/ new/-min/ted/ in/ this/ fat/ purse. 9
7 I'm/ a/ means/, a/ stage/, a/ cow/ in/ calf. 9
8 I've/ ea/ten/ a/ bag/ of/ green/ ap/ples, 9
9 Boar/ded/ the/ train/ there's/ no/ get/ting/ off. 9

The poem Metaphors by Sylvia Plath is a poem full of metaphors. In the first
line, the narrator claimed that she’s a riddle in nine syllables. If we look closer on
the riddle and count how many syllables each line, we can see that it has nine.
Also, there are nine lines with free verse. More so, the title of the poem ‘Metaphors’
has nine letters and so as pregnancy. Hence, the poem is all about pregnancy.
Let’s take a look in each line.

I'm a riddle in nine syllables

The poem begins by saying that the narrator is a riddle and gave the first clue
which is the nine syllables. A riddle is hard to figure out especially that it requires
knowledge. The first line has also 9 syllables.
An elephant, a ponderous house,

Try to picture out an elephant, it is big, heavy and slow to move due to their weight. On
the other hand, ponderous means moving heavily and clumsy and then house is a
building that function as home. A pregnant woman usually gains a lot of weight due to
the cravings plus the baby inside their womb, she usually walks slowly due to this extra
weights and even tend to become clumsy. The house there is her womb because this is
where the baby lives.

A melon strolling on two tendrils.

A melon is a round with sweet edible, fleshy fruit. Tendrils are the tiny stem that
usually a support for the plant. In connection to this, the melon here is her belly
that tends to become round as months pass by. The tow tendrils she mentioned
here is her feet because it is her only support if she’s walking.

O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!

Fruit is the most precious part of the plant because it has the greatest value. Ivory
is also the greatest and most valuable part of elephant that sometimes
costs $2,100 per kilogram. Fine timbers are what makes the house strong. For as the red
fruit, it symbolizes the baby in which this is the fruit of her parents love for each other. The
ivory is still the baby which she pertained as precious and valuable. Fine timbers here is
the mother because she’s the carrier, the home.

This loaf's big with its yeasty rising.

As we can picture out a loaf, it is puffy and soft and it gets bigger because of the
yeast. A pregnant woman belly is compared to this especially when she
mentioned “loaf’s big”. As the baby became bigger every day, the womb of her
mother follows.
Money's new-minted in this fat purse.

Purse is a container where we put our money. In this case, the ‘fat’ purse here is
the mother because she is the carrier of a precious and valuable money which is
the baby in her womb.

I’m a mean, a stage, a cow in calf

Here, she is comparing herself into a means which only a medium for a greater
purpose. She’s the way but not the goal just like her being the carrier and the goal
is the baby. A stage is where the artist performs, we usually don’t see any
importance of the stage as the artist started to perform. A cow in a calf means a
mother to a child. She implied here her anxious awareness of remorseless fate,
because when she gave birth to a child, her braveness when delivering a child
will not be acknowledged because they focus so much on the baby.

I’ve eaten a bag of green apples,

In the eighth line, it is the cravings of a pregnant woman. They usually eat a lot
especially fruits because it keeps the baby healthy. It may also signify the sourness
in her voice because in the previous line, she mocked the physical changes in her
body by comparing it to really huge things.

Boarded the train there’s no getting off.

When the train started, it will not stop until it reaches its final destination and so as
pregnancy. You can’t turn back and get off with the situation and all you need
to do is to wait for the next destination or the ninth month.

The mocking words of the pregnant woman is very evident especially when she
compared it to her womb, maybe she didn’t like the idea of being huge, weak
and clumsy because of her condition. But we can see her love for the child as she
contrasted it with precious things. It is full of pull (positive) and push (negative)
words that made the reader confused on what she’s really feeling toward her
situation.

The table below represents the target domain and the source domain of the
poem.

TARGET DOMAIN SOURCE DOMAIN


Pregnancy Being Fat
Helpless
Clumsy
Weak

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