* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Ariel

Ariel

by Sylvia Plath

Power Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

The brown arc
Of the neck I cannot catch, (8-9)

In this early moment of the poem, the speaker has lost her grip—for reals. She cannot "catch" Ariel's neck. She has nothing to hold on to. She is completely powerless.

Quote #2

Hauls me through air— (15-16)

Again, we see the speaker in a position of powerlessness. She is "haul[ed]" through air by Ariel. She is the object, not the subject, in this stanza. She has no control, and thus, no power.

Quote #3

Godiva, I unpeel—
Dead hands, dead stringencies.

And now I
Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas. (20-23)

The speaker's transformation to a position of power happens in these lines. She "unpeel[s]" the things that are holding her back in life. She compares herself to the powerful sea, which overwhelms the wheat of the fields that she's passing on her wild ride. Note that her ascension to power is all in her head; nothing changes physically. It's all mental.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement