How does Plath present the theme
of water in her poetry?
"Miles long extend the radial sheaves of your spread hair" - 'Full Fathom Five', Plath (8)
"It is her mighty majesty the sea" - 'The River in March', Hughes (55)
Both writers recognise the immense power and vastness of
the sea. Plath personifies the sea in the form of her father,
and in Hughes' poem, the sea manifests itself as a queen.
"Sun struck the water like damnation. No pit of shadow to fall into" -
'Suicide off Egg Rock', Plath (10)
"She huddles in holes and corners. The brassy sun gives her a headache"
- 'The River in March', Hughes (55)
The imagery in both poems gives the impression the the bodies
of water are weak and vulnerable in both poems, we see a conflict
between the sun and the sea, which could be a metaphor for the
conflict within Plath and Hughes' relationship. In support of this, the
water is represented as a woman in both poems.
"All obscurity starts with a danger: and your dangers are many" -
'Full Fathom Five', Plath (8)
"But the wind smartened against us, and the tide turned, roughening, dragged seaward" -
'Flounders', Hughes (125)
Both poets are describing the mysterious and often unpredictably violent nature
of the sea. Some analysts have suggested that Plath and Hughes use this
imagery to represent the nature of their relationship; mysterious and often stormy.
Other poems to use:
Finisterre (Plath, 29), Crossing
the Water (Plath, 38), Low
Water (Hughes, 85)