Things Fall Apart: A Comparison of Plath, Dickinson, and Bronte
Throughout their poems, authors Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson and Charlotte Bronte convey their ideas regarding the despair they have felt throughout their lives, and in particular the concept that ‘thing fall apart’. Through a range of engaging stylistic techniques such as personification, repetition, symbolism, metaphor, alliteration, simile, homoioptoton, synecdoche, rhyme, and tone, each author, in contrasting ways, is able to explore the idea that life does not always go to plan, and things can very easily fall apart.
Through her poem Tulips, poet Sylvia Plath is able to convey her idea that when things fall apart, depression can play a major part in a person’s life, and often can evoke suicidal thoughts. Plath employs symbolism through the motif of the tulips, [flowers that [she] didn’t want, [she] only wanted to lay with [her] hands turned up and be utterly empty. Through this, Plath conveys how when things fall apart, often it’s hard to want to continue living, something that the tulips, full of life, remind the subject of. Furthermore, Plath personifies the tulips, stating that the vivid tulips eat up her my oxygen, demonizing them and conveying how the subject feels victimized by all the things in her life that have fallen apart. In a contrasting way, poet Emily Dickinson employs the techniques of capitalization and repetition to convey her ideas regarding the concept that things fall apart in her poem, I felt a Funeral, in my Brain. In fact, within the title itself, the words Funeral and Brain have been capitalized to place emphasis on these words to convey the idea that, like Plath’s poems suggest, when things fall apart in life often it is hard to think of anything other than death and despair. Dickinson’s use of repetition, which she employs in the line Kept treading – treading – till it seemed / That Sense was Breaking through also conveys the concept that when things fall apart in life, living with grief becomes monotonous and numbing, as though it has become meaningless. Indeed, through their respective poems Tulips and I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, authors Plath and Dickinson expertly convey the idea that when ‘things fall apart’ it can lead to depression.
Similarly, in her text Lady Lazarus, Plath through the use of simile and metaphor, conveys her own experience of suicidal thoughts which she was lead to through ‘things falling apart’ in her life. Plath employs several similes, including And like a cat I have nine times to die to convey her anger and sadness at not being able to succeed in dying as she is forced to return to the things that have fallen apart in her life. In a similar way, Plath employs metaphors, such as Out of the ashes/ I rise with my red hair to suggest that, like a phoenix, she is reborn each time she almost dies, and continues to destroy the others in her life as things keep falling apart. This greatly contrasts poet Charlotte Bronte’s ideas surrounding this statement within her poem Life, which encourages the reader to persevere through tough times through the use of alliteration and homoioptoton. Through the use of alliteration Bronte is able to communicate to the reader that even though in tough times sorrow seems to win, if you have hope and strength you can still find happiness even after ‘things fall apart’. In a similar way, Bronte utilizes homoioptoton, evident in the lines Manfully, fearlessly and gloriously, victoriously to suggest that strength when ‘things fall apart’ can often lead to becoming a better person and achieving great things. Certainly, through different techniques, Plath and Bronte are able to convey their contrasting ideas regarding the concept that ‘things fall apart’.Poets Dickinson and Bronte, through their texts Because I could not stop for Death and Winter Stores, also present contrasting views regarding the idea that ‘things fall apart’ through a range of stylistic techniques, Dickinson’s use of the personification of Death, [who] kindly stopped for [her] conveys the idea that when ‘things fall apart’, death can be inviting, and giving in would be like greeting an old friend.
Furthermore Dickinson romanticizes this idea of death in the face of challenging times through alliteration, evident in the line my Gossamer, my Gown/ My Tippet – only Tulle which presents the reader with an alluring and inviting image of death. In contrast, Bronte employs repetition and metaphor to suggest to the reader that ‘things falling apart’ is just a fact of life, in which we get both good times and bad times. The repetition of Alike the bitter cup of grief/ Alike the draught of bliss conveys that whilst things do fall apart, things also come together and it is these things that should be celebrated, rather than mourned, Bronte reiterates this through the metaphor of the sunshine of the heart which conveys the sense that happiness is always there for those who can persevere through grief. Undoubtedly, through their poems Dickinson and Bronte expertly convey their contrasting Ideas regarding how ‘things fall apart’.
Again, through their respective poems, Daddy and On the death of Anne Bronte, Plath and Bronte explore the deaths of their loved ones and how this has caused their lives to fall apart. Throughout Daddy Plath employs synecdoche to refer to her father, such as Ghastly statue with one grey toe to convey her anger that her father left her behind, and that he is not human, but rather parts of a cold, stone statue, Plath also employs the repetition of the German word Ich, ich, ich, ich, I could hardly speak to express the sadness she felt when her father, who was German, died when she was eight. Similarly, Bronte’s grief at losing her sister is conveyed through the saddened and forlorn tone, when she states that she is Wishing each sight might be the last. The idea that Bronte’s life has fallen apart following the death of her sister is also made evident through the lines there is little joy in life for me/ I’ve lived the parting hour to see, which supports the idea that her sister’s death has caused things to fall apart in Bronte’s life. Clearly, through the use of synecdoche and repetition in Daddy and tone and rhyme scheme in On the death of Anne Bronte, authors Plath an Bronte convey their idea that the death of a loved one can cause lives to ‘fall apart’.
Through the use of a large variety of techniques, including personification, symbolism, repetition, metaphor and many more, poets Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson and Charlotte Bronte brilliantly convey a wide range of ideas and concepts surrounding the themes of life and death, In particular, each poet presents a unique, view on the idea that, in life, ‘things fall apart’, and inspired by the tragedies and musings of their lives.
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Throughout their poems, authors Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson and Charlotte Bronte convey their ideas regarding the despair they have felt throughout their lives, and in particular the concept that ‘thing […]