Fever 303 Analysis

Fever 103 analysis
The poem uses an assortment of patterns of imagery to highlight its themes. The overarching message is a critic of mankind’s destruction of innocence, exploiting the most vulnerable. The fever is seen as transforming the persona, purifying her and distancing her from the evils of humanity.

The poem starts with a rhetorical question of “Pure? What does it mean?” to orientate the responder to the persona’s struggle with defining purity.

Religious imagery is accumulated throughout the poem. One of these references is the link to Cereberus, the mythological guard of the gates of Hell. The description of him as “dull, fat Cerebus/Who wheezes at the gate” suggests he is ineffective at his duty of keeping evil contained in hell. The reference to being in the fever for “Three days, Three night.” is the same time Jesus was interred for before his resurrection. This reflects the cold war period questioning of religion, as she seems cynical of the evil of the world, but ultimately through suffering the persona is reborn. The religious allusion of “hurts me as the world hurts God” is suggestive of how the state of the world makes her a hopeless victim, but also how a God would be hurt by the evil in the world.

The inversion of the normally hopeful presence of a candle is darkened by being a “snuffed candle”, suggestive of death or repression. When considered as a whole phrase, “the indelible smell of a snuffed candle!” may be a reference to the stench of death and decay during the WWII period. Other normally pleasant imagery is inverted to be gloomy, such as “the weak Hothouse baby in its crib” and the “ghastly orchid hanging its hanging garden in the air.” This contrast displays how close pleasure and corruption are, suggesting one person’s pleasure comes from another’s pain. Another inversion is the simile of “heavy as a lecher’s kiss”, contradicting the normal positive imagery of a kiss. This is section of the poem is directed at her lover, who...