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Nick and the Candlestick Summary & Analysis
by Sylvia Plath

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Sylvia Plath's “Nick and the Candlestick” is a free verse poem told from the perspective of a woman who has recently given birth. As she nurses her son, the speaker expresses her struggle to navigate early motherhood by comparing herself to a miner who scours a grisly cave. However, she finds solace in her child, who becomes both her guiding light and the precious stone she seeks. Plath composed “Nick and the Candlestick” in October of 1962 along with a flurry of other poems that would eventually make up Ariel, the American poet’s acclaimed 1965 posthumous collection. The poem’s title alludes to the nursery rhyme "Jack Be Nimble" as well as to Plath’s son, Nicholas, who was born shortly before this poem was written.

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