Plath and religion

October 26, 2010

Someone asked if the tree in The Arrival of the Bee Box is the Tree of Knowledge. I think it definitely is – Plath wants to (or feels that she should) rid herself of her demons, of the depression that is also her inspiration, and become something detached and pure and good (and boring)…that stand-alone tree. In Edge I think she paints herself as the Tree as well, “perfected” and “dead,” with Adam and Eve (or her two children) sucking the knowledge and life out of her (One at each little/Pitcher of milk, now empty). While “the scrolls of her toga” makes her also sound like a statue, it could also be like the pattern of the bark, and “scrolls” could be emphasizing the knowledge of the Tree again. Anyway–

Plath loved to compare herself to the rising Christ, the rising Lazarus (and I felt like she became Lilith at the end of that poem–anyone else?) maybe to the Tree of Knowledge…because she wanted that perfection, because she felt so dirty and frustrated all the time and just wants to be wiped clean, completely clean. But that kind of perfection is essentially…well, it’s nonexistence. And that’s what’s so sad about it.

I also love love love the end of Fever 103. It kind of blew me away. It IS just a little breath at the end, “to Paradise,” but that’s all Plath wanted was a breath, just a really basic relief from her head, and she really got that feeling across there.

There are some Plath poems I didn’t like at all (and felt kind of wrong reading them, like I was peering a liiittle too far into her poor scrambled head), but then I think others are incredible…maybe depending on how depressed she was when she was writing each of them? The control and sanity of the poems definitely vary. Anyone else feel this way?

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