Exploring the “Mind of the Hive”: Embodied Cognition in Sylvia Plath’s Bee Poems

Jessica Lewis Luck, Indiana University
Vol. 26, No. 2 (Fall 2007), 287-308

Using Sylvia Plath’s bee sequence, this essay explores the use of bees and the hive to better understand Plath’s navigation between her corporeal exterior and her inner psyche. Approaching the idea of consciousness through images of the hive, the essay argues that Plath’s work moves from a contemplation of the surface of the body/consciousness to the complex morphological structures beneath. The four poems the essay discusses, “The Bee Meeting,” “The Arrival of the Bee Box,” “Stings,” and “Wintering,” show movement from an exterior passive view of self/hive/mind to an examination of identity that reveals the fragmented interiority of Plath’s consciousness.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]