Critical Analysis of Sylvia Plath’s “You’re”
In this poem, a woman, who is definitely Sylvia Plath, addresses her unborn baby. Though she has seen a lot of complications in her life yet she seems very happy as is witnessed from the poem. Her attitude in this poem is not sad and gloomy but pleasant. She knows that the child is an obstacle between her and art even then she is satisfied and hopeful on his birth. In those days, Ted Hughes has left her and she has to do everything single-handedly; a child could console her and could give her hope. The poem, in fact, is about the representation of woman’s emotions during pregnancy. From the imagery of the poem, it seems that the child has already born as each and every part of child’s body has been described by the poet in clear-cut words. Critics agree that the poem is artistic illustration of feelings of every woman during pregnancy.
The poem starts with the word, “Clownlike”; the poet is using a simile to describe her child. She is feeling her child’s presence in her womb and describes it in form of words. Some critics think that “clownlike” word has been used in negative aspects but it is not true. Whole line of the poem can clear everything. The poet writes; “Clownlike, happiest on your hands”. She has compared her child with a clown in order to describe the happiness of her child. A clown always pretends to be happy. The child is also happy and giggling just like a clown laughs. The simile has been used just to indicate happiness of the child. Furthermore, a clone always entertains people. It is his job to satisfy every person, who is looking at him; the child has been compared to a clown just because he makes his mother happy and gives her pleasure. In next lines of the poem, there is bombardment of similes. The poet uses “moon”, “fish” and “spool” in order to describe her child. Child’s picture is in the mind of Sylvia Plath and she converts this picture in words. It has been written by an eminent critic on the analysis of this poem that:
“This means that either Plath was a really good guesser or she has composed the poem with hindsight after her baby was born.”
Nonetheless, she is clear about her unborn baby. Perhaps, she can feel him in her womb. She compares her child’s face with a moon and explains her presence as “gilled like a fish”. Further, she thinks that her child is wrapped up just like a spool; she has described the position of child in her womb; the child has very less room and he cannot move there nor he cannot fit there, therefore, he has wrapped himself just like a spool. The imagination of the poet is very impressive and seems real. She has put an ultrasound report in front of the readers. Everything is so clear and the readers can understand how the child looks even prior to his birth. The poet further writes; “trawling your dark as owls do”. These lines are ironic. We know that owls have good night vision and they do not trawl in the darkness. They can see in the darkness; the word trawling here means to search something thoroughly. A child may need to trawl in the darkness but owls do not need to do so; perhaps she has used this simile to indicate the child is in darkness even then he is pleased. Next lines are about the completion of pregnancy tenure. From “July” to “Fool’s day” (1st April), the tenure of nine months is going to be completed; the poet is expecting delivery of her child in the month of April. She ends the stanza while using metaphor “loaf” for her child. Indeed, she is overjoyed and in this word described prettiness as well as innocence of the child of her child.
Next stanza starts with the words “Vague as fog”. It is also ironic; even after describing the condition of her child minutely; she has ambiguity about him in her mind. Perhaps, she has strong imagination due to which she knows about her child but she is unsure about his condition/status. Until the birth of child, everything is unclear to the poet. Moreover, she has used the word “smog”, in which things do not becomes invisible but remain unclear. Similar is the case with the poet. The child’s status is not invisible for her but is unclear. The child is far away from the poet; she is waiting for her child just like a person waits for a mail. She is curious to know about her child but has no other option just to sit and wait for him. “Snug as a bud and at home” reveals that the child is quite safe and enjoying the warmth and comfort of his cozy abode. Next lines are also full of similes and they are used just to clear the illustration of child. Every child seems “Jumpy as Mexican bean”, “Right, like a well-done sum” and “Like a sprat in a pickle jug” to his mother. A critic says that there is nothing new in it. Children are born in this way.
“You’re,” is the expression of joy and curiosity; a mother is imagining her child before his birth. She is curious to listen her giggling. She wants to play with him but she has to wait for a long time. The poem is not only about the feelings of poet but is a wordy-description of every mother’s emotion. Every simile used in the poem describes her unborn child in poet’s womb. Each object, metaphor and simile has a child like amusement in it. The poem is highly imaginative, emotional and creative.