Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mad Girl's Love Song Analysis

“Mad Girl’s Love Song” Analysis
By Sylvia Plath pg.387

“Mad Girl’s Love Song” by Sylvia Plath is a poem about a girl who spent her whole life waiting for a man she gave herself to, against her beliefs, who was never to return. The most visible device the author used in this book is repetition. One phrase the narrator repeats is “(I think I made you up inside my head).” The emphasis repetition puts on this quote is that the narrator is wishing that this man is made up, and trying to convince herself of it. The quotes signify that these are thoughts to her, and not out loud, which means she is trying to convince herself it is true. The narrator also repeats the line, “I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.” This, along with the reference to God, Satan, and Seraphim, mean that getting “into bed” with the man the narrator was speaking to was a sin, and therefore they never married. When the narrator tries to sleep, “All the world drops dead,” which could represent nightmares and visions of hell because she feels guilty for her sin. Plath uses repetition to emphasize certain phrases so the reader can decipher the true meaning.

Another device the author uses is personification. In the second stanza the narrator describes “the stars go waltzing out in blue and red, And arbitrary blackness gallops in.” Clearly, stars can not waltz and blackness can’t gallop. Stars “waltzing out” and blackness galloping in are used to describe how they are leaving her without a second thought, self-assured, easily, and quickly, as the man who left her might have done. The narrator continues to say “I should have loved a Thunderbird instead; At least when spring comes they roar back again.” The narrator is giving a car, Thunderbird, the personification of being able to love and return to its lover, as she wished her man had done. The narrator is also relaying the message that the car is a better man and companion than her lover is. Personification in this poem is very meaningful and powerful to the underlying theme.

The first thing that struck me with this poem is the title, “Mad Girl’s Love Song.” The title has two underlying meanings. One, the girl is mad, or angry, about the love in her life. This is true, because the narrator is very upset that she gave herself to a man who left her. Also, that the girl is mad, or insane, over convincing herself that this lover is “made up” and does not exist. The second thing about this poem that caught my attention is the author, Sylvia Plath, who is extremely emotional and troubled. I liked the religious undertones of the poem, which represent that sex before marriage is a sin to the narrator, and she is regretting her actions. “Mad Girl’s Love Song” is cynical view on a bad relationship, and I enjoyed reading it.


  1. Hi! I found this analysis because I also wrote an essay for school about this poem. I think when Plath referred to the "thunderbird" she was talking about the one in North Amerindian legends. The "roar" is probably the roaring sound of thunder made by the bird's wings. So maybe Plath means that she might as well have loved something that she knows is imaginary, rather than this disappearing lover who she may have "made up inside [her] head."

    I thought your analysis was really interesting nonetheless, and I'm glad I came across it!

  2. Thank you very much for this analysis, it really helped towards my A-Level coursework !

  3. I found these analysis interesting because it helped me in my second semester C.A. Thank you!

  4. Great analysis overall, however the first comment is correct. Plath probably was referring to the Thunderbird from the legends.
    The first Ford Thunderbird wasn't sold until October 1954, and Plath wrote this poem three years before in 1951. It is extremely unlikely that she would have known about the production of the Ford Thunderbird in 1951, since it did not exist yet.
    Besides this small misinterpretation, the analysis is very well done!

  5. LOL! Thunderbird, as in the car? Maybe if Sylvia had owned a Thunderbird her life wouldn't have been so awful.

  6. Is there any poem that has similarity to this one?

  7. if you read that the man she refers to is in fact her father, a man she has written many other poems about as she is angry and feels let down by his death and his disinterest in her, then you could link her other poem 'Daddy' to this which further explores her emotions concerning their relationship...

  8. Can't believe there has been no mention of the form of the poem - it's a classic example of a villanelle. Check out Dylan Thomas' 'Do not go gentle into that good night'.