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An detailed analysis of The Arrival of the Bee Box : by Sylvia Plath

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The arrival of the bee box analysis
The poem “The Arrival of the Bee Box” was written by Sylvia Plath in the year 1962. The poem has seven stanzas that are made of five lines each and an extra line at the end. The author uses the poem to express his frustration about life. The poem uses short lines and the word “I” is recurrent in each stanza. The poem has no repetitive rhyme or metre, but the poem uses metaphors, similes, rhyme and allusion. Let us now look at a detailed analysis of each stanza and line.
The first stanza starts with the line ‘I ordered this, clean wood box’ and goes use other very interesting words in the subsequent lines like the coffin, the midget that could be interpreted in different ways. These words portray a sad mood, a state of anger or bitterness that the author is going through. The use the word “I” in the first line means that it is a self-centred poem. The poem ends with the line ‘were there not such a din in it.’ This is an expression of emptiness by the author. The use of the line “Square as a chair…” is an internal rhyme and the use of “din it in” is the application onomatopoeia.
The second stanza starts with the line ‘the box is locked, it is dangerous.’ An expression that she the author is hopeless about her miseries. She thinks that she is locked in the same space with the bees, and we all know that bees sting. The author uses the word ‘I’ twice in the second and third line. This is yet another indication that she was talking about her life.

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The last line of the second stanza says that ‘there is only a little grid, no exit’ this line could imply that there are only slim chances of making it out of her situation. She has little hope.
Then on next to the third stanza she starts ‘I put my eye on the grid.’ Where the author is trying to express that, she is trying to reach for others to get help. This could be close family members like her father or husband or close friends. The second line is “It is dark, dark.” The word “dark” is repeated to emphasise her point that she understands others, but they won’t reciprocate. This could be an illusion she is suffering from or a reality.
The third line still in the third stanza says, “with the smarmy feeling of African hands” the word smarmy is used as a metaphor to express mixed feelings on her part. A feeling of anxiety, sadness and pain that is often characterised with the African continent. The third stanza ends with the line “black on black”, angrily clambering” The word black is also repeated. The word is used to symbolize people and emphasize the state of affairs of society. A canning society where men undermine fellow men. The stanza ends with an intriguing word “clambering” The word is an onomatopoeia used to express a dire situation she is in.
The fourth stanza starts with a question “How can I let them out?” she is asking herself how she will tackle her problems. The bees, in this case, symbolise the problems which she wants to be solved. The second line in this stanza is “It is the noise that appals me most of all.” She uses internal rhyme with the words “appals and all” This second line also implies that no one is willing to listen to her problems keenly. People only come up with opinions about her problems without first understanding her. The third line says “the unintelligent syllables” an indication of the uncoordinated way in which bees hum. She likens this uncoordinated noise with the disorderly way people tend to help her.
Moving on to the fourth line, the author uses a simile when she writes, “It is like a Roman mob” scholars have come to relate the use of this line to the incident at Cato Manor, a small town in Durban, where nine policemen had been killed by a mob, coincidentally Cato was also a popular politician who was famously known as Cato minor. (Hart 10) The last line of this stanza is greatly fragmented, “Small, taken one by one, but my god, together!” she may be referring to the way bees clog together, a metaphor to emphasize how her small problems piece up to create a mountain of a challenge. It also shows a state of an internal conflict the poet is going through.
The fifth stanza starts with the word “I”, in fact, she goes on to use the word to start the next two lines of the stanza. This further confirms that this is a personal narrative poem. It also depicts a form of control she tries to achieve in her thoughts. The first line, “I lay my ear to furious Latin” and the second line “I am not a Ceaser” returns us to the political history of her environment. She again makes reference to Cato, who opposed Julius Caesar’s laws. Cato’s close relative also murdered Julius Caeser, which could also be the cause of the relationship (Hart 12 ).The third line of the fifth stanza also says, “I have simply ordered a box of maniacs.” This is a way of trying to control her thoughts. She is in search of her true identity by “ordering a box of maniacs.” The box refers to her mind throughout the poem. Some scholars say that she might have written this poem when she was deeply depressed, and she was even contemplating suicide (Miller 25). The last line says, “They can die, I need feed them, I am the owner.” She again uses the word “I” which continues to show that she is talking about herself. She further acknowledges that she needs to take control or else she will lose the battle of regaining her life back.
On the sixth stanza, the author starts “I wonder how hungry they are” and goes on to say in the second line that “I wonder if they would forget me.” This is a sign that she is calming down, and she is willing to give herself a second chance by trying to change her thoughts. She thinks of turning herself into a tree so that if she ever lets them go they won’t be able to attack her again. Similarly, become a tree would also give the bees a better shelter. To interpret this stanza some scholars, argue that it would be important to understand the poetess’ life. She was leading a troubled life during this time. She is said to have been struggling with her marriage by the time and bringing up her two children. This stanza could, therefore, be interpreted that she is trying to make peace with her thoughts and take control of her seemingly lost life. There is the use of internal rhyme in this stanza also, in the fourth line when she writes, “….blond colonnades,”
In the seventh stanza, the first line says that “they might ignore me immediately” She thinks that the bees might ignore her because she is wearing a “moon suit and funeral veil” In the third line she says “I am no source of honey” and the fourth line says, “so why should they turn on me?” This is an indication that she is slowly giving up. The poem also reaches a climax in this final stanza as she the tone goes low with questions. She completes the poem by saying that “The box is only temporary.” And an indication that her life is also temporary.
Sylvia Plath titled this poem as “The Arrival of the Bee Box” which is a metaphor of a bee box for the dilemma she is going through her mind. The underlying meaning is that of suffering and indecisiveness. Plath argues with herself on the life she is leading, but she doesn’t seem to be getting answers (Rosenblatt 30). Some scholars also believe that Plath picked the tittle influence by her father who was a bee farmer. It is also coincidental that she is talking about the challenges she is facing in life from family. This includes her husband and father. The tittle, therefore, tries to capture her life in a simple and poetic way (Wood 10).
Works Cited
Hart, Melanie. “The arrival of the bee box: poetry and mental mechanism.” British Journal of Psychotherapy 5.4 (1989): 564-573.
Miller, Ellen. “Sylvia Plath and White Ignorance: Race and Gender in “The Arrival of the Bee Box”.” Janus Head 10.1 (2007): 137-156.
Plath, Sylvia. “The arrival of the bee box.” Ariel. London: Faber and Faber Ltd (1965): 63-64.
Rosenblatt, Jon. “Sylvia Plath: The drama of initiation.” Twentieth Century Literature (1979): 21-36.
Wood, David John. “A Critical Study of the Birth Imagery of Sylvia Plath, American Poet, 1932-1963.” (1992).

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