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Morning Song Analysis

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Morning Song - Sylvia Plath

Morning Song, by Sylvia Plath, was written in February 1961, the same month she suffered a miscarriage.

Morning Song, by Sylvia Plath, explores the physical and emotional links between a mother and child, and Plath's own growing maternal bond with her child. In the poem, Plath is contemplating her relationship with her new child and it is clear she has mixed emotions of apprehension and awe. The opening line of the poem introduces her first impressions of the child. "Love set you going like a fat gold watch." This immediately creates a positive connection with the baby, as she uses the word "Love" as the origin of her child. The simile "fat gold watch" creates a somewhat confusing image of the child, but it can be broken down. Plath uses "fat" as an allusion to the physical nature of a newborn child, as they are somewhat cumbersome. The use of "gold" makes the child appear precious, something to be valued. However, the symbol of the watch seems to be an image of foreshadowing about the amount of time it takes to raise and nurture a child.

The next line, "The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry / took its place among the elements." Solidifies the child's presence in the world. It's as if the slapping sound and the bald cry break the spell of awe that follows the childbirth, and the baby takes its place in the world.

In the next stanza, Plath discusses the baby's effect on the people that surround it (perhaps friends, family). Here a strong sense of detachment enters the poem. Plath refers to her child as a "New statue. In a drafty museum, your nakedness shadows our safety." Something to look at and be admired, yet also at the same time is it something strange and unfamiliar. The line "Your nakedness shadows our safety" encapsulates her feelings of apprehension for her newborn child. This child's "nakedness", its newness, threatens to take away the safety of no responsibility or commitment that she enjoyed before this child entered the world. They are confused at what to do, how to act; "We stand round blankly as walls." This feeling of longing for no responsibility ties in with Plath's other poem, Tulips. In both pieces she wishes to be detached from love and responsibility, yet as the poem progresses, she has a change of heart, almost an epiphany.

The next stanza moves on to talk about how Plath's apprehension stops her from bonding with he child with these lines: "I'm no more your mother / Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow / Effacement at the wind's hand." Here Plath (the 'cloud') is resenting giving birth to her image as it reminds her of her own inevitable mortality. The child is the mirror,

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