Early Life Otto Plath died on November 5, 1940, a week and a half after Plaths eighth birthday. Plath experienced a loss of faith after her fathers death, and remained undecided about religion throughout her life.Born October 27th, 1932 in Boston Her mother was Aurelia Aurelia Plath moved herSchober Plath and her father children and her parents to Otto Emile Plath. 26 Elmwood Road, Wellesley, Massachusetts in 1942. In 1936 the family moved to Winthrop, Massachusetts. While living in Winthrop, Plath attended Bradford eight-year-old Plath Senior High School in published her first poem in Wellesley, graduating in the Boston Heralds 1950. childrens section.
CollegeIn 1950, Plath attended Smith She was rejected for College. admission to the Harvard writing seminar.She edited The Smith Reviewand during the summer after Made her first medicallyher third year of college. documented suicide attempt in late August, 1953.Awarded the coveted position of guest editor at She spent the next six months Mademoiselle magazine, and in psychiatric care. spent a month in NYC. The experience was her She spent the next six monthsinspiration for The Bell Jar. in psychiatric care.
Plath seemed to make a good recovery and returned to She obtained a Fulbright college and in June, 1955, scholarship to Newnhamshe graduated from Smith with College, Cambridge. highest class honors. At Newnham, she studied with Dorothea Krook. She continued actively She spent her first yearwriting poetry and publishing winter and spring holidays her work in the student travelling around the newspaper Varsity. continent.
Marriage Plath met Ted Hughes in The couple moved back to the Cambridge at a party. United Kingdom in December 1959 and lived in London.A few months later the couplewere married on June 16, 1956 Their daughter Frieda was at St George the Martyr born on 1st April, 1960.Holborn in the London Borough of Camden. In February 1961, Plaths second pregnancy ended in They both became deeply miscarriage. interested in astrology andthe supernatural, using Ouija In that August that family boards. moved to Court Green in the town of North Tawton in Plath and Hughes traveled Devon. across Canada and the US, staying at the Yaddo artist Her son Nicholas was born in colony in New York State in January 1962. the Autumn of 1959.
In 1961, the couple rented In December 1962, shetheir flat in Chalcot Square returned alone to London with to Assia and David Wevill. their children, and rented aHughes was immediately struck flat on a five year lease in with the beautiful Assia. a house where William Butler Yeats once lived. In June Plath had had a caraccident which she described as one of many suicide The winter of 1962 was one of attempts. the coldest in 100 years; the pipes froze, the children—now In July 1962, Plath two years old and nine discovered Hughes had been months—were often sick, andhaving an affair with Wevill the house had no telephone;and in September the couple her depression returned. separated.
Career In 1957 Plath taught at Smith During the summer of 1962, College, her alma mater. Hughes began to keep bees, which would be the subject of In 1958 Plath took a job as a many Plath poems. receptionist in the Beginning in October 1962, psychiatric unit of Plath wrote most of her poems Massachusetts General for the collection Ariel, Hospital and in the evening which her reputation now took creative writing rests upon. seminars given by poet Robert Lowell. Her depression returned but she completed the rest of her In October, 1960, Plath poetry collection which would published her first be published after her death collection of poetry, The in 1965. The Bell Jar came Colossus and in August she out in January 1963, finished the Bell Jar. published under the pen name Victoria Lucas.
Style Her works weren’t really Her earlier poems wereappreciated until after her composed slowly and with The controlled death. great care, while her later flow of images poems were written at a combined with the Unique uses of rhythm and structure of these greater and increasing speed. meter. poems successfullyThemes of feminist criticism. Plath would speak these poems draws the reader in "her own voice" as she into that She uses the technique of wrote them. suffering. "doubling," and has distinctive approach to She handled very painful and The use of parody characterization. intense subjects such as and black humor suicide, self-loathing, rescues her The syntactic and visual Nazis, shock treatment, poetry from total irregularities together dysfunctional relationships, pathos. create an unsettling and homicidal iron tanks. experience.
FREAKShe was obsessed with death. She dealt with ongoing depression and was checkedHer first suicide attempt was into hospitals and seeing at the age of 20 while she psychiatrists on and off was attending school in throughout her life.Cambridge by sleeping pills. Her son committed suicide in Her 2nd suicide attempt was 2009, which suggests that right before she found out their depression was Hughes was having an affair genetically based. with Assia, by auto crash. Her poems deal with heavy Her 3rd, and successful, subjects like suicide, self suicide attempt was by CO dissatisfaction, and poisoning, dying with her unhappiness in relationships. head in the oven.
The MirrorI am silver and exact. I have nopreconceptions.What ever you see I swallow immediatelyJust as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.I am not cruel, only truthful---The eye of a little god, four-cornered.Most of the time I meditate on the oppositewall.It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at itso longI think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.Faces and darkness separate us over andover.Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,Searching my reaches for what she reallyis.Then she turns to those liars, the candlesor the moon.I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.She rewards me with tears and anagitation of hands.
The Mirror is a poem about the difficulty ofaccepting the truth, especially the inevitableprocess of age and time. The poem ischaracterized from the perspective of the mirroritself with the relationship of one specific woman.When the mirror describes itself as “a little god” itpersonifies its powerful ego and also like it enjoysthe power if has over the woman. In the secondstanza the mirror transforms into a lake and theimportance of this transformation is that a lakeisn’t as exact as mirror; a lake involves moredepth. She refers to the candles and moon asliars because they do not give off enough light toreveal a true reflection. The woman feels asthough she has been lied to by the lake when thelast two lines of the poem. The woman is afraidthat one day the lake and the mirror will one dayreflect the exact same image; the mirror reflects aphysical appearance of the girl with her beautyand the because you have to look deeper into thelake, it reflects who the girl really is on the inside.By this the girl feels conflicted and confusedabout who she really is. One of the mostimportant messages that Sylvia Plath is trying toget across is that beauty is nice, but superficial.She is sending a message to the growingsuperficiality of today’s society and tells us thatbeauty is nice but soon fades and the only thingyou have left to yourself is your character. Thispoem was written in 1961, not too long after shefound out that her husband, Ted Hughes, washaving an affair on her with Assia Wevill, whocaught Ted’s attention by her beauty. I believe thispoem reflects the despair of Sylvia and how much