Homework Help

Please describe the speaker in "Tulips."

user profile pic

belalo | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 26, 2010 at 3:02 PM via web

dislike 1 like

Please describe the speaker in "Tulips."

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

user profile pic

epollock | Valedictorian

Posted October 26, 2010 at 3:03 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 3 like

The poem’s speaker is convalescing in a hospital room. Although she is attended by nurses and doctors, basically she is alone, and she has just received a dozen red tulips, obviously from her husband or a friend, as a get-well gift. In her mental condition, she perceives the tulips not as a joy but rather as a threat. Even before she unwraps the flowers, she thinks of them as a danger to her solitude. She also sees them as competing with her for her very breath, and therefore as depriving her of life (line 37). Still in the wrapping paper, which she compares to “white swaddlings, like an awful baby” (line 38; see Luke 2:7), the tulips seem not to cheer her, but rather they resemble “A dozen red lead sinkers” dragging her down into a drowning despair. It would appear that there is nothing the speaker might receive that she would not construe as threats to her continued existence.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes