"Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer." This quote by Dorothy Rowe reinforces how Plath's persona considers herself a prisoner of depression, but also a jailer to her children. Plath creates the persona of a consumed mother to argue nostalgically to a universal audience using implied metaphors, that mental instability can deprive an individual of life's greatest gifts, replacing them with a mental and emotional numbness. .
Plath conveys through the speaker, that mental instability can deprive an individual of the greatest moments in life. The title of this poem, "Child" represents a blissful ignorance, because children haven't yet been exposed to what the world is capable of. Children are completely oblivious to reality, because all they have ever known is curiosity and joy. However, in this poem, the speaker is always two steps behind this idea of pure happiness, and is worried that her ignorance may damage her children's chance at finding it themselves. Throughout the poem, the speaker explains to her children the concept of happiness, even though she doesn't know how to capture it herself or give it to her children. "Should be grand and classical/ Not this troublous/ Wringing of hands, this dark/ Ceiling without a star" (9-12). This quote spoken by the speaker to the reader shows the effects that depression has on one's life. The speaker knows that life should be "grand" and "classical", but is unable to bring those things into her own life due to her current state of mind. However, the speaker is worried that her own mental state will be absorbed into her children. "Pool in which images/ Should be grand and classical." Line 8 & 9. This quote spoken by the speaker to the reader conveys the impact that the speaker has on her children. Pools are a reflection of their surrounding images, therefore, the speaker does not want her children to be reflected back as an image as herself.