Written Response to
‘Cut’ by Sylvia Plath

By Liam Doyle



This is a written response to the poem ‘Cut’ by Sylvia Plath. ‘Cut’ is about a character who has accidentally sliced the top off their thumb with a knife and is describing how it feels and what it looks like. In this response I will discuss techniques the writer uses and the mood changes throughout the text.

In this poem the writer uses strong imagery through similes and metaphors. An example of a simile in this poem is “A flap like a hat” which gives the graphic image of a dead flap of skin from the thumb. An example of a metaphor in this poem would be “I step on it, clutching my bottle of pink fizz”.  ‘My bottle’ is a metaphor for her cut thumb, and the pink fizz is a metaphor for her blood flowing out of her thumb – like wine from a bottle.

Throughout the course of the poem the mood changes.  The mood changes from an initial celebratory/thrilling feeling from the character and gradually changes into a more concerned and worried mood.  An example of this initial thrill is in the first two lines of the first stanza; “What a thrill … my thumb instead of an onion”.  This beginning shows that the character is not worried by the injury, but rather intrigued and thrilled.  The mood, however, begins to change around the third stanza, which is shown in this quote;

“Oh my homunculus,

I am ill,

I have taken a pill to kill.”

From this stanza  I see that the character has come to a realization that this injury is not quote the thrill they had initially felt, but rather a sickening pain.  The poem’s mood stays relatively the same from that point until the end.

I feel that the poem ‘Cut’ by Sylvia Plath is, while a morbid and strange poem, a well-written poem which gets its points through effectively.  I think that this is because it has strong and effective imagery throughout, and is well worded.  This has been my written response to the poem ‘Cut’ by Sylvia Plath.