Sylvia Plath, Morning Song and the Second Tenet of Liberal Humanism

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The second tenet of liberal Humanism states that a text contains its own meaning within itself ad so doesn't require a complicated process of placing it in a broader context. Using a text from the Wider Reading program, discuss how knowing its broader context does in fact contribute to a richer reading experience. Morning Song by Sylvia Plath Knowing about the life of Sylvia Plath will undoubtedly give the reader a more meaningful experience when studying the poem. It allows the opportunity to delve deep into the writing, rather than just reading it without having any awareness of her background story. When analysing a poem of Plath's one may automatically associate it with depression, melancholy etc. even before reading the piece itself and fairly so. Mental illness was a major part of her adolescent and adult life and is clearly present in many of her writings. When first going over Morning Song, it is surprising to find nothing lachrymose or dark about this piece. Instead we are given a rare insight into Plath's mind of being a first time mother, something she never thought that she would be. If you take into account her past pieces of writing it is blatant to see that she never thought of herself as being a conventional woman, let alone one day being maternal. When you study Morning Song, you first see a woman who is unsure of how to react to her newborn child turn into a mother who is in awe of this life she brought into the world. Sylvia Plath takes us on a journey from the moment the baby first cries and feeling like an observer of a statue in a museum, to the moment when even the stars seem dull in comparison the beautiful sounds this child makes; 'The clear vowels rise like balloons.' (Plath, 1960) Understanding that Sylvia Plath suffered from severe depression and understanding that initially she was never interested in having children, brings a

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