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Sylvia Plath's stark poem, "Childless Woman"

Instead of lines, she states that "The roads bunched to a knot, the knot myself, myself the rose you achieve" (Plath 259). A line would be akin to a path, which leads somewhere. The knot is a locus where all the paths dead-end and come to a place where they meet and become entwined about each other so that they no longer provide a way to go anywhere. The knot is a bundle of untrodden roads, a destiny that can never be fulfilled and a destination that will never be reached. She identifies the knot as herself and calls it "the rose you achieve" (Plath 259). As a rose, her self is evanescent, although beautiful; it is also delicate and easily bruised. Moreover, a rose is a flower often found at funerals. To say that it is "achieve[d]" makes it seem worked and manipulated by the person she is speaking the poem to-perhaps her lover, or perhaps God Himself. Having been achieved, she has been created and exists, but as the rest of the poem intimates, it is an empty and soulless self leading solely to death.

Where she talks about "This body, this ivory, ungodly as a child's shriek," there are multiple suggestions that reflect the thesis (Plath 259). "This body"-instead of "my body"-gives the remark the perspective of an outsider, one who regards the body as an object rather than as a living thing. By referring to it as "ivory," Plath relates it to a dead object-a tusk. Likewise, there is the implication of a


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