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Sylvia Plath

             Sylvia Plath is commonly referred to as a "confessional" poet, that is, one who writes of their own experience but in a disguised, rather than overt manner. Celebrated for her fierce imagery and often caustic commentary on relationships, "Black Rook in Rainy Weather" extract two, confronts the topic of death in a more subdued fashion than "Lady Lazarus", for example. In this poem, Plath demonstrates a capacity to explore a diversity of subject matter and experiment with a variety of techniques. This undoubtedly establishes her as a poet of exceptional merit, .
             In 'Black Rook in Rainy Weather' the narrator does not expect a "miracle" nor her "sight" to be set "on fire", yet still, she desires some "backtalk from the mute sky", some "celestial burning" to grip her imagination. This use of religious imagery and language ("portent", "ceremony") seems to suggest a yearning for connection with something beyond mere nature. Although the speaker claims "a certain minor light" will make "incandescent" even "obtuse objects now and then", they leave themselves open to any minute gesture on the part of nature such as 'largesse" or "honor" or even "love". In sharp contrast, the tone of "Lady Lazarus" is almost smug in its celebration of the "grave cave" that has been triumphed against. The speaker here describes herself as a "smiling woman" one who is prepared to exhibit her "hands" and knees" to "the peanut crunching crowd". She appears to revel in her supernatural powers claiming that she will "rise" "out of the ash" and "eat men like air". .
             Plath divides her "Black Rook in Rainy Weather" in five line stanzas. This use of odd numbered lines brings to mind "Mushrooms", however, where this earlier poem utilizes the three line Haiku style in order to deliver the message that the mushrooms represent an ironic analogy with the fear of a Chinese Communist invasion, "Black Rook in Rainy Weather" resorts to five lines in order to create an sense of imbalance.

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