Look at "Metaphors" by Plath. How do the denotation (dictionary meaning) and connotation (understood meaning) work together to make a clever interesting poem? Please help!  It doesn't have to be a very detailed response but does need to be a good one. 

1. The speaker's pregnancy is the topic of this poem, and thus Plath uses metaphors to describe her condition. 2. The denotation of each key word is the dictionary defintion of a given image (i.e., an elephant is a very large mammal). 3. While these denotative meanings are important, they aren't enough by themselves; the images seem unrelated. It is only when we look at the connotations that allow for a second, richer meaning to emerge that we begin to see what Sylvia Plath is doing with the poem on a second level. 4.

Expert Answers

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In reading this poem, I tend to follow the prompt in the opening line and enjoy Sylvia Plath's poem "Metaphors" as a riddle of sorts. I think that reading the poem in this way may very well help you discuss it in terms of denotation and connotation. The images of the poem center around the speaker's pregnancy -- she's, among other things, "An elephant, a ponderous house, / A melon strolling on two tendrils."

The denotative value of each key word is the dictionary defintion. An elephant is a very large mammal; a melon is large and round, tendrils are curling vines, etc. The denotative meanings are important, but they're not enough by themselves; the images seem unrelated. The connotations are what allow for a second, richer meaning to emerge. The speaker does not seem all too overjoyed to be pregnant. Many of the images in the poem convey a negative connotative meaning, such as unpleasant fullness or ripeness.

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