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The Colossus

The Colossus

by Sylvia Plath

Women and Femininity Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Scaling little ladders with glue pots and pails of Lysol
I crawl like an ant in mourning (11-12)

Lysol is a typical household cleaning product, right? So, this mention of if totally makes us think of household chores and such. Could the speaker be casting herself in the role of a housewife? Could the fact that she dutifully cleans the ruin every day be some kind of comment on the role that many women had to play whether they liked it or not in Plath's day?

Quote #2

Thirty years now I have labored
To dredge the silt from your throat. (8-9)

Here again, the speaker is doing some cleaning, so you could see this as a continuation of the housewife thing from the previous quote. What's interesting in this quote is that she's getting into some real manual labor. Dredging silt sounds like a pretty rough job if you ask us. So, while the speaker is still cleaning like a stereotypical housewife, she's also performing a more stereotypically masculine job.

Quote #3

No longer do I listen for the scrape of a keel
On the blank stones of the landing. (29-30)

The final image of the poem seems to draw on the idea of a woman sitting at home waiting for a man to return—you know, like if her father or husband was a fisherman or pirate or something. You could interpret the final statement as an empowering thing. She's spent all this time waiting, and she's not doing it anymore. What do you think?

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