I am in limbo between the old world and the new very uncertain and rather gloomy (Wagner Martin120)
In search of an ideal ego, the poetess, despite living in a world of random and threatening events, has bravely experienced a kind of reborn both in her life and in her works to urge self-gratification. Desiring true fulfillment, Sylvia Plath inevitably finds it inevitable to start a metabolism that later turned out to be the reason for her reborn in most of her Ariel poems. She as “the cauldron goddess of poetic inspiration” (Wagner Martin 114), paves the way for the process of the Rebirth by evoking her resurrection in her new collection of poems, Ariel. Poems with open suspense that have been derived from their creator’s inner being are an appropriate spectacle to deconstruct. The moral investigation of this challenging new world of poetry offers the person the essential purpose of extinguishing his suppressed screams and agonies of his past. The arduous persistence on details gives the poems such vitality that readers are trapped in the participation of both the objective and subjective atmosphere presented in these paintings. In Ariel, Plath relates the notion of reborn with motherhood and motherhood. The old self may be exemplary of maternal domination and contamination by others, while the newly emerged self is free and liberated in contrast to the first dependent self.
Clashes of motherhood and motherhood
Love keeps you going like a big gold watch.
The midwife slapped your soles and your bald crying
It has taken its place among the elements. (CP 156)
When the notion of Mother is remembered, the first projection on which to be struck is the devoted act of love and mercy. Knowing the fact that Plath’s bipolar disorder and postpartum depression intensified after her pregnancy, then this issue could be viewed as her agonizing attitude towards coitus and conception. It requires the contemplation that pregnancy is in some sense equivalent to the loss of identity. Reproducing a creature that sucks its own blood and inherits some genetic trait is exactly the same so-called otherness that was fully discussed in the second chapter of this thesis. In “Metaphors”, Plath applies a kind of metaphorical language to portray the person’s pregnancy. He points to an elephant as a heavy pregnant woman and a watermelon as a fetus. The cumbersome act of pregnancy has been grotesquely described in an enigmatic poem of “Metaphors” in nine syllables.
This uncontrolled outpouring of affection, as discussed in the previous chapter, could occasionally hinder the baby’s progress as the mother is severely promoting otherness within the baby by feeding her own unfulfilled expectations and repressed desires. To establish independent personality, the child must kill the inner parenting.
The mother’s breast is dry and stiff in Ariel’s poems. Her milk is the obvious source of otherness injected into the baby’s body through sucking. Plath instead associates the idea of abortion with motherhood and motherhood, when the life of the embryo as otherness is taken and ended deliberately or involuntarily.
Hence the parasitic and host relationship between Mother and Child plays the dual role in such a way that once the mother is a guest when the child is an embryo since otherness simultaneously receiving nourishment from maternal blood means allowing otherness to enter her body. and the other time is when the baby is a host and the parasite-like mother feeds the baby with her milk as otherness.
The old self is like a mother suffering from a deadly disease and giving birth to a new baby as the new and true self would lead to her death. This idea of motherhood and being reborn it covers most of Sylvia Plath’s poems when at the same time the maternal concept and its fertilization, patriarchal power and creation would be called upon to challenge each other. Since this birth is free from any intercourse and meditation and furthermore childbirth and pregnancy are a mere right of production, acceptable to female entities in factual norms, apparently this is what Plath might ask the question and sarcasm of the productive power of ‘Almighty and his guilt and determination in the creation of the lord of creatures, human. In “Lady Lazarus” she shouts:
“From the ashes / I rise with red hair / and eat men like air” (Collected Poems 246).
This rising from the ashes is the parody of the day of the Resurrection, but it did not do so under the will and permission of its creator, but simply spontaneously derived from its own yen and its own impulse. Also somewhere else in “Lady Lazarus”, the narrator assembles her body parts as God has sworn and vowed in the Holy Book to do the same on the Day of Resurrection: “These are my hands / My knees. / I can be skin and bones, / However, I am the same, identical woman “(Collected Poems 245).
If to ridicule such a magnanimous act of reborn and resurrection in the kangaroo court of a poem like ‘Lady Lazarus’ is not an act of defiance and supremacy, what could it be called then?
Defining Plath atheist or considering his poetic style and profane theme would go beyond the area of this discussion and would address theological and religious doctrines and principles.
On the contrasts of two competing Selves, in the previous section it was argued that the old Self is adult and mother, but here on the contrary one could consider the infantile aspect of the old False Self and the mature portrait of the new True. What really matters in this metamorphosis is the process and stage that the person went through and the freshness of the soul and the entity with a whiteboard inside, which removes all the blackheads of the past.
The primordial self and the new reborn Himself
Ariel apparently embodies Plath’s response to oppressive modern society. The artist’s self has the ability to be promoted and therefore must necessarily be nurtured to be rebornThe contrast between the selves, the first and the new, would be of particular interest to many critics:
While in early poems the self was often represented in terms of transformational possibilities, in post-colossal poems the self is more often seen as trapped within a closed cycle. We move, but only in a circle and continually returning to the same starting point. Rather than the self and the world, Ariel’s poems register the self in the world. The self can change and develop, transform and be reborn, only if the world in which it exists exists; the possibilities of the self are intimately and inextricably linked to those of the world [Italic mine] (Pamela J.Annas171)
The self encounters a kind of buffer effect of the world to define itself and arrive at recognition. Evidently the self finds its validity and meaning in the external world and its elements. From the contemplative point of view, the world and the environment shape the form of oneself as ceramic shapes clay.
The idea of Rebirth arrived in the last lines of “Love Letter” in The Collected Poems by Ted Hughes to testify this metamorphosis within the character:
Tree and stone glittered, without shadows.
The length of my finger became as shiny as glass.
I started sprouting like a March twig:
One arm and one leg, one arm, one leg.
From stone to cloud, so I went up.
Now I look like some kind of God
Floating in the air in your soul change
Pure as a sheet of ice. It’s a gift. (CP147)
‘An arm and a leg’ here would connote the biblical allusion to the Day of Resurrection according to which all the members would be associated as before. The repetition of “… one arm, one leg” simply means the safety of the person and at the same time the amazement of such recreation and Rebirth. Beyond and beyond, more pertinent is that “One arm and one leg” could refer to something expensive and expensive. This Rebirth certainly cost Plath “An arm in a leg”. He would have to pay exorbitant sums to get such a precious Rebirth.
‘From stone to cloud, so I went up’ specifies the moral elevation and height of that Rebirth. It could be interpreted that the person’s soul joined the divine entity that childishly and habitually believed to be in the sky and behind the clouds.
‘Clouds’ also routinely ignite the notion of fertilization and fertility as rain clouds are drenched with rain and bring freshness and reborn to the whole of nature.
‘Now I look like a kind of God’, in Greek mythology there are various symbols of God that exist for each element, better to say God of wind, Goddess of fire and so on. But here, due to the act of creation, the person is gallantly parallel to the Almighty by applying bold claims and thus calls the entire creation into requisition and takes it for toil.
The confrontation and description of the person “to sprout like a March twig” could be as if he were claiming to challenge nature with his own potential for reborn and metamorphosis and attitude which would be fully discussed in the next section.
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