The Mushrooms That Changed Everything (Coincidentally, on a Friday)

Mushrooms             Sylvia Plath

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.


Mushrooms by Sylvia Plath is similar thematically to The Friday Everything Changed by the theme of the underdogs, the little ones. The poem speaks of the ones that no one thinks anything of, and how they make their ascent slowly. The story tells the tale of the students who everyone doubted, but over time, they unite and ascend to the top slowly (“soft fists insist on heaving the needles”) Both works explain the “underdogs”, those that have been oppressed, are making themselves noticed in due time (“Nobody sees us, stop us, betrays us. The small grains make room”). One could draw relations to the theme of female empowerment in both works, what with the quote “We are shelves, we are tables, we are meek”. Shelves and tables are necessary, but no one wishes for them. They are not strong – until they are. Until the “so many” rise above, slowly, without anyone noticing, and they “inherit the earth”. In the case of The Friday Everything Changed, the girls are there – they are necessary for softball. But once The Question is asked, the girls begin to rise to power. They unite, and the fight back. The boys notice, of course, but one day, everything changes. Miss Ralston puts her “foot in the door”, and the girls “inherit the earth”, or in this case, the bucket.