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by Sylvia Plath

Analysis: Sound Check

This poem sounds like a dark, disturbing nursery rhyme. Violence has never before sounded so playful.

But the playfulness – the rhythmic lilting and over-the-top rhyme – makes the violence even creepier. This is the kind of nursery rhyme that the speaker's evil father would have sung to her.

There's a lot of rhyme in this poem even though it has no formal rhyme scheme. Oo sounds completely overwhelm this poem, but instead of being comforting, like they would be in a nursery rhyme, they're suffocating. They're so thick they drown the reader. Here's a quick tour of this poem's oo sounds: "do," "shoe," "achoo," "you," "blue," "du," "two," "root," "Jew," "true," "goo," "boot," and "brute" – and that's not even the whole poem, and it doesn't count repetition. All of this gushing oo makes this poem seem more disturbing than a nursery rhyme – it's not a bedtime story, but a howl in the night.

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