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The Colossus

The Colossus


by Sylvia Plath

The Colossus Theme of Suffering

The speaker of "The Colossus" doesn't do a lot of whining about it, but it's clear she's experiencing more than a little suffering. She just can't seem to get over some colossal loss in her past and spends every day picking through the ruins. "The Colossus" is a poem that shows just how much power mental suffering can have over a person's life. It's like having the biggest, most awful job to do ever, and, oh yeah, there's no pay.

Questions About Suffering

  1. What hints does the speaker give that she might be suffering?
  2. What steps do you think the speaker could take to eliminate her suffering?
  3. What type of suffering do you think the poem describes? Why do you think so?

Chew on This

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

Though the speaker tries to play it down sometimes, the poem makes it totally clear that she's suffering terribly on an emotional level. It's not something she can just brush off like jacket lint.

The shattered field of ruin in which the speaker lives seems to represent the way she feels shattered inside. Things are bad inside and out here.

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