Sylvia Plath's Tulips

Tulips signifies the commencement of Plaths psychological journey of searching for her true identity and purpose in life. The opening lines of Tulips evoke a sense of calmness through such images as winter, white and snowed-in. Plath sees herself as nobody, having shut herself off to the outside world: I have nothing to do with explosions. The act of surrendering her name, belongings and body implies that she has rejected her identity and effectively erased herself from the world in an effort to find internal peace.
The following stanza sees Plath reduce herself to an object, a stupid pupil, watching, learning and admiring the efficiency and order of the nurses. Her body is a pebble to them as they smooth out her problems and cleanse her as gently as water. They bring her numbness in their bright needles, allowing her to disengage from reality and loose herself. An extended pause is followed by a decrease in the rhythm, as Plath catches sight of mementos of reality. Her overnight case reminds her that this state of numbness is only temporary and that commitments and expectations await her at home, whilst the smiles of the husband and child out of the family photo/catch onto [her] skin and conjure up feelings of guilt for detaching herself from the aforementioned commitments and expectations.
Plath perceives herself as a cargo-boat; battered, loaded up and carrying everything and is completely exhausted from doing so. Fleeing her responsibilities she becomes purified: I am a nun, symbolising her rebirth and allowing her to remove herself from her responsibilities. A change in tone: I didnt want any flowers emphasises Plaths desire to escape normality and routines, whilst the religious connotations of my hands turned up promotes an image of peace and tranquillity. Plath utilises the metaphor of an awful baby to illustrate that the tulips are a constant reminder of the responsibilities that she is hiding from. Their sudden tongues and colour are a reminder of life,...