What is Sylvia Plath's poem "You're" about?
Sylvia Plath's poem "You're" is narrated by a speaker who is a mother meditating on her unborn child. The speaker's use of comparison, mostly through figurative language, captures the feeling of the unknown and the complex emotions felt by an expectant mother.
"You're" is written in two stanzas. The title, a contraction for "You are," refers to the baby growing inside of the speaker. The poem characterizes what the baby is to the speaker, how the speaker conceptualizes this new life. The first stanza reads:
Clownlike, happiest on your hands,Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled,Gilled like a fish. A common-senseThumbs-down on the dodo’s mode.Wrapped up in yourself like a spool,Trawling your dark as owls do.Mute as a turnip from the FourthOf July to All Fools’ Day,O high-riser, my little loaf. (1-9)
Vague as fog and looked for like mail.Farther off than Australia.Bent-backed Atlas, our traveled prawn.Snug as a bud and at homeLike a sprat in a pickle jug.A creel of eels, all ripples.Jumpy as a Mexican bean.Right, like a well-done sum.A clean slate, with your own face on. (10-18)
Like "Simile," this poem covers a range of comparisons to describe the baby that was growing inside of Sylvia Plath's womb at the time of writing. The sheer creative range of the various comparisons perhaps conveys the sense of wonder and amazement at what is happening inside of her and the baby that is growing into a little person. As such the poem's theme is the wonder of motherhood and how amazing it is: the growth of a tiny, microscopic cell into a fully-grown baby inside the mother's womb. The last line in particular is particularly poignant:
A clean slate, with your own face on.
The baby represents a new start, not weighed down by the history of its parents, and with its own identity, rather than inheriting the identity of its parents. We can see in this poem the love that Plath feels for her baby and her excitement at seeing what it will be like.
The speaker of the poem seems to be a pregnant woman who is addressing her unborn child. This child is the subject of the poem. What makes the poem's subject so interesting are the myriad unexpected ways Plath describes the unborn baby: most people might use flowery language or common idioms about buns in the oven or bundles of joy. Plath, however, uses language we would not expect to describe this child, comparing it to a fish, a spool of thread, an owl, a turnip, a rising loaf of bread, fog, mail, some place very far away geographically, Atlas (the Titan that bore the earth on his shoulders), a shrimp, an eel, a Mexican jumping bean, a mathematical sum, and so forth. These descriptions seem to lack the triteness or the predictability of more common references to unborn children and so make us consider the experience of pregnancy in a new way.
Before giving birth a baby , poem is about the pregnant women.
All which she describe is her feelings.