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by Sylvia Plath

Metaphors Theme of Versions of Reality

While we're not explicitly told that "Metaphors" takes place in a different world or dream reality, there's not much of the real world coming through in this poem. We have to break through a metaphorical version of reality to find it. Through metaphors, this poem sets up a different universe, which connects back to the real world in surprising ways. It's important to see the world that the poem has literally created, sure, but it's also important to see how this imaginary world links back to the real world of this pregnant woman's life.

Questions About Versions of Reality

  1. Which metaphor in this poem is hardest for you to picture? Easiest? Why?
  2. When did you start to figure out the riddle, what the metaphors were about? Is it possible to read this poem in any other way? 
  3. Where do you think the train that the speaker boarded could be going, both literally and figuratively? Why?
  4. Why do you think Plath chose to write this poem entirely in metaphors? Why not just talk about actually being pregnant? What does the poem gain from giving us a metaphorical reality?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The metaphors in this poem establish an alternate reality that sheds light on the real world.

This poem shows that being pregnant can shift a woman's reality.

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