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Comparison of two poppy poems by Sylvia Plath Essay

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    When looking at the titles of the two poems “Poppies…. ” I automatically think of the war. This is because poppies are a symbolism of the war and are sold every year at the time that the war occurred. It is a symbolism of all the people that died, sort of like sympathy for them. This could relate with, or it could be about the war. Also when I looked at the pomes again I thought of flowers and how beautiful they are. I have noticed that I had the same reaction with “Tulips”, as it meant two different things.

    The first poem “Poppies in October”, also was quiet surprising at the though of the poppies appearance so late in the year, like a surprise gift. This is presumably intentionally contrasted with the second poem “Poppies in July”, as this is the time for Poppies. The poppy could be represented as an unexpected gift because of the blistering red colour of them. I found out that the ‘July’ poem was written just when her marriage was about to break up, so the ‘October’ one could suggest that this break up was a surprise to her. Both the poems are very short, which suggests not having much to say which could relate to pain and loneliness.

    The first poem is divided into five parts, each with unequal lines and breaks. The second one is also divided into eight parts with the same pattern. The sudden breaks could represent tension, an abrupt pain or surprise. I will begin by interpreting the “Poppies in July”, as July comes before October. This poem begins with a painful start, as she says “little poppies, little hell flames do you do no harm? ” She does not like the poppies and as her marriage was about to break, it seems as if the poppies are bad luck. They are so small but to her they are harmful.

    She does not like these poppies as she goes on to say, “You flicker, and I cannot touch you. “. They are like a fire, which does not burn her. This means that it is mentally burning her (i. e. the pain of her break up). It exhausts her watching the poppies because in a way she seeks peace from them but she cant get any; she can’t get any sleep from them. The way the are “flickering like that wrinkly and clear red”, again the personification of the redness of the poppies. “A mouth just bloodied”, she personifies them as evil. These poppies make her sick, because they make her nauseas.

    She says, “Where are your opiates? ” Opium is a drug, and drugs calm one but these poppies aren’t claming her. And she evaluates this as she says, “If I could bleed or sleep! ” She is blaming the poppies again for her trauma, “If my mouth could marry a hurt like that! ” She regrets marrying her husband. Everything to her has now ended and she is finished, because she says “Dulling and stilling”, she has no life in her anymore. She is now “colourless”. This could mean that the poppies are also colourless; they have no feeling or sympathy for her.

    This last line shows she is miserable because it is a short sentence on its own. This poem does not have a rhyme, as it is supposed to give a confused effect. It also therefore does not have a rhythm. On the contrary, the poem “Poppies in October” is a bit different. It is shorter than the other poem. It does in a way flow with the previous poem because the first line says, “cannot manage such skirts”, and she talked about skirts in the other poem as well. She says that the “sun-clouds” cant even bear the pain she is going through. And neither can “the woman in the ambulance”.

    Basically she is suggesting that the pain she is going through is too much for anyone to handle. The idea that this is a surprise is shown in the third part as she states “a gift a love gift”. Her marriage was a surprise. Yet the poppies springing in October are a gift, and they are red which relates with “love”. This time the poppies seem as is they are there for her as a present. They are pleasant and have brought “love” to her. It is pleasant because they were “unasked for”, but they still came to her. The poppies are pure and nice, unlike the “carbon monoxide” from the air.

    She is happy now and says “O my God what am I”, she is timid about the splendid gift she has just received. Again she mentions, “mouths should cry open”, presumably suggests that the mouths in the previous poem that were sad have no reason to be sad now. So, in my conclusion these poems are total opposites but they are like one big story. The first poem has a sad tone but the second has a happy tone, it’s got an achievement. It flows and I think it is really nice because it shows her progress and that life goes on. It also shows that although she had a hard time “God” gave her a nice gift as a reward in the end.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Comparison of two poppy poems by Sylvia Plath Essay. (2018, Jan 05). Retrieved from

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