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The word “Spinster” ,which is the title of the poem written by Sylvia Plath, in its literal sense denotes “single, unattached or free”. With this plain interpretation alone, you supposed to spot in an instant what could be the perspective of this poem, you may think that it is all about a person who lives alone, unmarried or unaided. This is merely gazing on the title itself, but when you come across on the entire poem deeper leaks on its real context will be unscrewed.
The first stanza of the poem signifies a girl who had a sudden realization towards what she really feels for her suitor during their way out.”Ceremonious April walk” this line represents the time/moment wherein the girl felt something unstable with her feelings or instincts for her lover, in particular this could happened somewhere in April which signals the start of spring time in four-season places.
“With her latest suitor found herself, of a sudden, intolerably struck by the bird’s irregular babel and the leaves’ litter ”, these lines could mean the eye-opener she got hold of from that moment or conversation.
With the way these elements of spring time are being used to reveal the girl’s emotion this could also imply that the girl’s not so good impression towards spring season. The second stanza is all about how the girl’s sentiment further exposed. “ By this tumult afflicted, she observed her lover’s gestures unbalance the air, his gait stray uneven” these lines if the concern is the literal elucidation, it could mean this way; “with that commotion happened the girl saw all the negative things that her suitor did making the condition unstable and his ways and actions departed from what is should”.
It could also imply that in their time being together the girl had seen several dealings from her suitor it may include violence that maybe for her were all on the wrong pace. “Through a rank wilderness of fern and flower; she judged petals in disarray, the whole season, sloven”, with all those things she had observed she came up with a decision that could give an end mark with all of these. Again elements of the season are evident in the poem, which are being used to illustrate the girl’s sentiments. The third stanza of the poem possibly denotes the resemblance of girl’s perspective towards love and the winter season which comes before spring. “How she longed for winter then! Scrupulously austere in its order of white and black”, this line symbolizes the lady’s desire to make things within her reach because as we’ve all know in a typical winter ambience things are very definite with only two dimension: black and white, uniformity/order is present in contrast with spring.
And so with her sentiments, she wanted to attain a life free from many irregularities like what she had experienced from this little and sometimes unstable thing called love. “Ice and rock; each sentiment within border, and heart’s frosty discipline exact as snowflake”, here using elements of winter, entails the lady’s pronouncement to make her emotions wrapped and her heart frozen just to avoid anymore distractions and pain. The fourth stanza shows how this lady with her experiences turned into a woman who’s thinking grew unruly that she can even widen her queenly wits and be offensive en route for her feelings. After what she had into, no more words and man can make her mind be rolled, for she don’t want being into disarray or as stated another bedlam spring.
“And round her house she set such a barricade of barb and check against mutinous weather as no mere insurgent man could hope to break”, -the lady made herself closed from any intimate attachment/acquaintance or she had built this emotional hurdle for this thing. “…with curse, fist, threat or love, either”- I think this line has something to do with not just pain from heartbreak but also with violence. Maybe the reason why she made this barricade from any suitor/man is that she had experienced not only the emotional soreness but also aggression that’s why at the end she decided to be so meticulous/particular and make herself free from it (spinster). In addition, the significant thing I’ve noticed in this poem is the way the poet (Sylvia Plath) used the elements of season/time (spring and winter) in exposing the persona/lady’s emotions and stand. This way somewhat reminds with that of William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 (Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day? ).
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