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Mirror by sylvia plath

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Mirror by sylvia plath

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Mirror by sylvia plath

  1. 1. • Sylvia was born on October 27, 1932 in Newton, Massachusetts. • She married Hughes on June 16, 1956
  2. 2. First stanza I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see I swallow immediately Just 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 opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
  3. 3. What it means... • In the opening line of the poem, the mirror proclaims “I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.” Throughout the entire poem, personification is the most prominent element. While the outside world is critical, judgmental, and harsh, the mirror points out that it is always and “only truthful.” It accepts both things and people for what they are without trying to change them. The mirror is “the eye of a little god,” that has looked at the wall for so long opposite of it that it has become “part of my heart.” The only thing that separates the mirror from the wall are the “faces and darkness,” that pass by and “flicker.”
  4. 4. Second stanza Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me, Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candle or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully. She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman. Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.
  5. 5. What it means… • The mirror has changed identities and is now a lake. A woman is looking at herself, searching…for what she really.” As she ages, she does not like what she sees. It does not understand that the woman is not searching for her true self, but only demonstrating her obsession with her physical appearance. She relies cosmetics, such as candles or the moon, in order to comfort herself and try to hide her aging. Instead of receiving the gratitude the mirror thinks it deserves, it receives “tears and an agitation of hands.” The woman is not pleased with what she sees every day in the lake. The metaphor in the last two lines compares the woman to a fish. Fish are generally very unattractive and ugly creatures and aging can make a woman feel the same way. Her youth has passed and aging is gaining on her. The woman has come to the point in her life where she has realized her youth is gone, and age has risen towards her “like a terrible fish.”
  6. 6. Analysis Stanza I Addressed by an inanimate object – Sets out to define itself and its function – Has no preconceptions because it is without memory or ability to reason. – It is omnivorous – swallows everything it confronts without making judgments that might blur, mist, or distort.
  7. 7. It is god-like in its objectivity and incapability of emotional response. Most of the time it meditates on the opposite wall, faithfully reproducing its colors and design until darkness intrudes or intervenes
  8. 8. Analysis Stanza II The mirror becomes a perfectly reflecting lake, unruffled by any disturbance A Woman bends over the lake like the mythical Narcissus. –No matter how deeply she searches, she sees only her actuality or surface truth. –Unlike Narcissus, the speaker cannot fall in love with what she sees.
  9. 9. • The candles and moon to which the woman turns are liars capable of lending untruthful shadows and romantic highlights – unlike the lake surface/mirror, which renders only faithful images.
  10. 10. Unhappy by what she sees, she weeps and wrings her hands. –The youth and beauty once reflected during her morning visits are drowned in the metaphorical depths of the lake. –What slowly emerges from those depths is the terrifying fact that she is aging.
  11. 11. Theme • Pain comes with losing ones innocence and youth because society values beauty and youthfulness more than the truth.

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