Analyze the poem "Medallion" by Sylvia Plath.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Sylvia Plath's poem, "Medallion" is about a snake she finds dead, and the details of its body that she notices. Written in 1959, its form was strictly "controlled." Plath uses imagery, literary devices, and sensory details, especially colors.

First, we "see" the image of a snake, bronze, lying in the sun near a gate with a "star and moon" design.

By the gate with star and moon

Worked into the peeled orange wood

The bronze snake lay in the sun

Next, Plath uses a metaphor, comparing the snake to a shoelace. The snake is dead, but the author uses personification to describe the snake's pliable jaw and "crooked grin."

Inert as a shoelace; dead

But pliable still, his jaw

Unhinged and his grin crooked,

A metaphor is used again; it describes the snake's tongue. It is a "rose-colored arrow." Fearlessly (in death, or is the speaker comfortable with snakes?), she hangs the dead creature over her hand, noticing his "vermillion" (red or reddish-orange) eye.

Tongue a rose-colored arrow.

Over my hand I hung him.

His...

(The entire section contains 618 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team