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by Sylvia Plath

Ariel Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Why do you think "Ariel" is so sonically dense? What is the effect of all of the poem's sonic repetitions? 
  2. Why do you think that Plath doesn't explain much about the setup of the poem? Why doesn't the poem have a clear narrative? 
  3. How autobiographical do you think the poem is? Do you think it's useful to distinguish between the speaker of the poem and Sylvia Plath when talking about the poem? 
  4. Do you find Plath's intense metaphors powerful, or overwhelming? Why or why not? Why do you think her metaphors and images are so layered? 
  5. How invested is the poem in suicide or death? How metaphorical or literal is the speaker's death at the end of the poem? When the speaker is "at one" with the horse, is this a kind of bodily or spiritual death?

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