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Poems by Sylvia Plath

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How would I go about understanding the two poems; Poppies in July, Poppies in October?

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Solution Summary

Poems by Sylvia Plath are explained using personal response.

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Poppies in October
<br>Even the sun-clouds this morning cannot manage such skirts.
<br>Nor the woman in the ambulance
<br>Whose red heart blooms through her coat so astoundingly --
<br>A gift, a love gift
<br>Utterly unasked for
<br>By a sky
<br>Palely and flamily
<br>Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes
<br>Dulled to a halt under bowlers.
<br>O my God, what am I
<br>That these late mouths should cry open
<br>In a forest of frost, in a dawn of cornflowers.
<br>Comments: Poppies are a spring flower. To have poppies in October requires a very early/very late rainy season in the West. But more to the point, Plath's speaker here seems to suggest that these poppies symbolize a very late, unexpected gift. The opening line suggests this, as she compares the sun-clouds to the skirts of the poppies. (Literally, poppies resemble tiny, incredible orange skirts.)
<br>This opening image is juxtaposed by a figure whose "red heart" blooms through the white jacket of an EMT worker in an ambulance. This image is a radical departure from the almost pastoral image of the poppies, indicating that there is an interruption in the speaker's ...

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