Notes on Plath's Elm (Nature, trees...) - QUOTES, POINTS, AND HUGHES DAFFODILS

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Nature, trees...

Elm Taking on the persona of a yew tree, the poet explores a range of painful emotons.

  • "my great tap root", "This is rain now, this is big hush.", "like arsenic" - The tree is personified within the poem as the speaker aligns herself with the yew tree, tapping into the persona's fears. Water/rain brings relief and is soothing and nurturing, like "arsenic", suggesting that there is a comfort in poison or death which the tree offers to bring her. Alternatively, some critics argue that the tree wishes to comfort her. 
  • "suffered the atrocity of sunsets./Scorched to the root", "must shriek" - Plath's phrasing suggests the the yew has has felt enormous pain, but as a result, it is capable of empathy, offering to biring the "sound of poisons", and recognises the second speakers' madness and suffering in love - "i know the bottom".
  • "moon...merciless" The yew tree has to


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