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Tulips by Sylvia Plath

             In the poem "Tulips", by Sylvia Plath, there is a woman that is placed in the hospital for a reason that is unknown to the reader. The poem has a meaning that is deeper than what you read. I personally read the poem three times before the layers started to unfold. Yet still, after these three readings there are still things that are unclear to me.
             During my first reading of the poem it seemed to be very simple. I read the title of the poem and thought that it would probably be a joyous poem, since flowers are usually pleasant. I read through the poem so quickly that I did not realize that there was a woman laying in a hospital bed. Halfway through my first reading I realized that there must have been something that I missed during my reading because the speaker was not happy to be receiving flowers. The speakers states that she "didn't want any flowers, [she] only wanted to lie with [her] hands turned up and be utterly empty." From this point on I realized that the flowers in this poem did not represent anything that was cheerful. It was almost as if the flowers were invading her space and weighing her down. .
             It was in my second reading that I realized the speaker was in a hospital bed, but I still did not know why. This reading also brought out the depressing tone that the poem has to it. Not only are the flowers depressing to the reader but her own family becomes depressing to her. She looks at the picture of her husband and her son and she refers to their smiles as " little smiling hooks." Her own family brings her pain. She then states that the tulips are "a dozen red lead sinkers around her neck." These tulips are somehow drowning her. I realized that she thought the tulips were drowning her and then saw that she refers to her body as a pebble that is submerged in water. This is another image of her drowning. Yet I still don't know why she is repeating these images of her drowning.

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