Question: Write the critical appreciation of the poem The Morning Songs. Or, discuss the theme of motherhood in Sylvia Plath’s poetry. Theme of motherhood Sylvia PlathThe theme of motherhood in Sylvia Plath’s Poems
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) is an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. She is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry. She is best known for her two collections of poetry “The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel”. “Morning Song” is the first poem of “Ariel” in which she is not so critical and obscure in case of situation analysis like her many other poems. The theme of motherhood in the poetry of Sylvia Plath is one of the prime facts.
Concerned and optimistic motherhood
Concerned and optimistic motherhood is the theme of the poem “Morning Song”. It opens with a delightful image.
“Love set you going like a fat gold watch.”
While expressing love for her newly born baby, Sylvia astonishes her readers through her optimistic concept in this poem. In those days, she was happy. The first reason was Ted Hughes’ endless commitment of love to her. Second, her first child Frieda Rebecca Hughes who was born increased her happiness boundlessly. The poem reveals the personal life story of the poet and her relationship with her infant. It also presents her thinking about the social problems which will have to be faced by her daughter.
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Congestion in motherhood
The poem starts with a beautiful mother and child relationship. The poet talks about the security of the child. She compares her with a gold watch which is a symbol of her child’s worth. She knows the importance of a child in a mother’s life. The opening lines of the poem illustrate the ultimate joy of a mother about the birth of a baby. whether the baby is a boy or girl, it does not matter since a child always brings happiness for the mother and completes a family. Throughout the poem, the poet’s attitude and mood remain happy and pleased but in the end, she becomes depressed while thinking about the upcoming worries of life. Nevertheless, her child is her life which is why she sings a song for her.
The immaculate pleasure of motherhood
The second stanza is an enhanced version of protection. She again addresses her child and uses the word “you”. Of course, the child could not understand what she is saying but her words are very important. In this stanza, she is translating her happiness into words. When the child wept and came into the world, it had given joy to her. This joy is delightful not only for her but also for other people around her.
“Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.”
The word “our” suggests that the poet is not the only person who is happy about the birth of Frieda. Someone else is also there. Perhaps, the poet is referring to her husband who is sharing this joyful moment with her.
The paradigm of practical motherhood
In the next stanza, she expresses her wish to take retirement from her duties. Perhaps, according to the poet, the time of her duties has come to an end. However, whatever may be the case, she wants to get rid of her motherly duties.
“I’m no more your mother”.
This line is ironic though she wants her child to face the difficulties of life with her own powers. The poet shows her concern about her child’s weaknesses too. “In a drafty museum your nakedness” means the child is unsafe in this world. Thus, Sylvia suggests the mothers of the world to be practical although a mother’s emotion is measureless for her child.
Real nature of this materialistic world
Sylvia Plath’s motherhood focuses on the real nature of this world which is inevitable for all human beings. In the last part of the poem, it seems that the poet’s mind is filled with deep thoughts of her child’s future. She says that when she listens to her child, she sees a new world; a world that is full of wonders; a world that is mysterious; a world that is informative and terrifying.
Tradition ambiguity is inherent in Sylvia Plath. The last lines of the poem are traditional since the poem closes with the dark attitude of the poet. The poet knows that journey of life is much difficult. She knows that her child will suffer the same as she suffered in her entire life. “dull stars” is referring to the upcoming gloomy situation in the life of the child.
To conclude, “Morning Song” is definitely an autobiographical poem that successfully reflects the experience of philosophic motherhood with bonafide joy and happiness.