What is a line-by-line analysis of the poem "Night Shift" by Sylvia Plath?

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The title of the poem "Night Shift" gives some indication of what the unknown sound may be before we start reading. However, Plath's negations in the first stanza—it is "not a heart beating," nor is it "blood in the ears"—operate as synesthetic images; although we know the sound is not either of these things, the implication is that it could be, and that it must have the same sense of being part of the listener, "drumming" through her body.

This idea is prolonged in the second stanza; although it "came from outside," it is "native" to the suburbs in which it pounds. Like blood in the ears, it is the blood of the suburbs, the "thudding source" of it equated to the heart in a human body. The allusions to the heart and blood force the reader to view that source, in "Main Street's / Silver factory," differently, in terms of how it relates to the neighborhood. Even as we see the mechanics of what is making the noise—"hammers hoisted," "tonnage of metal and wood"—Plath uses the phrase...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 595 words.)

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