“They thought death was worth it, but I
Have a self to recover, a queen.
Is she dead, is she sleeping?
Where has she been,
With her lion-red body, her wings of glass?” – from Stings by Sylvia Plath
This excerpt from Sylvia Plath’s poem, “Sting”, not only resonates with me through her fierce diction but also contains such a relatable message or idea. The diction in this passage proves to be so powerful due to the contrast Plath creates, combining words with fatal connotations with those of a delicate nature. For example, in the third line Plath questions the audience, or perhaps even herself, as to the condition of this missing queen. The first assumption she makes is that perhaps she is dead, a dark but realistic scenario. Plath then plays with the idea that the queen may merely be sleeping. The juxtaposition of these two possibilites next to each other symbolize how thin the line can be between a deadly fate or an innocent slumber. Just as these words simultaneously oppose and compliment each other, the last line of the passage displays a similar poetic technique in describing the anatomy of the queen bee. This anatomy stands as a symbol for Plath herself, and the deceptive nature of her personality. As the bees body is “lion-red”, symbolizing strength and power, the majority of Plath’s outward appearance is that of woman made of stone. Nevertheless, the parts of her that maintain the soaring in the sky and prevent crashing to the ground are but “wings of glass”, ready to break at any moment.