Words : quotations

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Words is a notable literary work by Sylvia Plath. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of Words.


Sylvia Plath‘s (1932 – 1963) iconic poem “Words” delves into the ever-present influence of words and memories. Here are selected quotations from the poem, along with explanations.

“And the echoes!
Echoes traveling
Off from the center like horses.”

Explanation: The poet likens the echoes of words and actions to horses galloping away from a central point. This imagery represents the effects of words and actions ripple outward concerning many aspects of life.

“The sap
Wells like tears, like the
Water striving
To re-establish its mirror
Over the rock.”

Explanation:  In this line, the poet uses natural imagery to explain the way emotions well up, much like tears or water, and seek to reflect our inner feelings. It suggests the emotional and reflective power of words and memories.

“That drops and turns,
A white skull,
Eaten by weedy greens.”

Explanation:  This line portrays a visual image of decay and transformation. The “white skull” symbolizes the remnants of the past, while the “weedy greens” represent the passage of time and how nature reclaims what was once vibrant.

“Years later
I Encounter them on the road-“

Explanation:  The poet reflects on how, over time, she comes across these memories and words as she continues on her life’s journey. This indicates that memories and their impacts endure and resurface.

“Words dry and riderless,
The indefatigable hoof-taps.”

Explanation:  The words have become “dry and riderless,” suggesting they have lost their initial power or context. However, they still have an “indefatigable” quality, like the persistent sound of hoof taps. This shows that words and memories persist in some form.

From the bottom of the pool, fixed stars
Govern a life.”

Explanation:  In this final line, Plath describes that despite the fading or changing words and memories, certain enduring principles or values (symbolized by the “fixed stars”) continue to guide and shape one’s life.