Sylvia Plath Mirror

Published: 2021-09-29 05:30:03
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Category: Poetry, Sylvia Plath

Type of paper: Essay

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The paper analyzes the poem “Mirror“, written by Sylvia Plath. What it wants to show are the multiple meanings which depend on the different readers. The paper is intended to show the importance of the “mirror” and its reflection of the person looking into it. This paper also explains how a poem can serve a writer as an instrument to describe her/his life and feelings on a sheet of paper. Silvia Plath? s husband was abusive to her. She felt lost, she was empty and had no satisfying love in her life. But mess in her life was not caused only by her husband.
The purpose of this paper is also to answer the hidden question if these personal things have something in common with the poem and if she was not in some way trying to find her own identity in that “Mirror”. A short life summary Sylvia Plath was an American poet from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. She lived a very short thirty-year life which was riddled with stress and depression. In much of her later poetry, Sylvia Plath sought to give birth to a creative or “deep” self hidden within her. [1] At the age of 20 she tried to commit a suicide. But this try was unsuccessful.
She died at the age of 31 – after committing another (but this time successful for her) suicide in 1963. Before she did so, she had written a few confessional poems. The confessional poetry of the mid-twentieth century dealt with subject matter that previously had not been openly discussed in American poetry. Before then, the main issue of poetry implicitly included little of the poet? s private life, instead focusing upon public issues using a detached persona. The new “confessional” poems removed the mask that poets had been hiding behind and proved an insight into the private lives of the poets. 2]




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The poem “Mirror” is also one of the these poems, in which Sylvia exposes her private experiences, feelings and depression. That is why this poem is dark, full of unhappiness, and only picture the world from a pessimistic point of view. Nevertheless, it is not only about her life and feelings, there are many other people involved. What or Who is the “Mirror” “Something that truthfully reflects or gives a true picture of something else. ”[3] That would be found as a definition of these things in any dictionary. There are many other things with the same function as a mirror.
Windows, glasses, lakes and puddles are all means of showing ones reflection. A description used by Sylvia Plath is very similar: “I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. What ever I see I swallow immediately. Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. ”[4] The “Mirror” states that whatever it sees it takes in automatically, meaning that it is objective in every way. Does not matter if it is a close friend or an enemy. It does not deal with any feelings, neither love nor hatred. “I am not cruel, only truthful.
The eye of a little god, four-cornered. [5] The mirror? s purpose is not to be cruel, but to be equal. As it relates itself to “a little god”, it is supposed to be fairly-minded. The function is not to satisfy the subject looking into the mirror by showing him/her the person they want to see , but to display that person the way he/she really is. However, hearing the truth is something very hard to deal with in this life. Would any human being dares to claim: “I have no preconceptions”? There is very few people whose answer to this question would be “yes”. Still, Sylvia Plath is one of them.
As her life was mostly full of sadness and loneliness, slowly but surely, she had been losing her feelings and interest in the world and in the others. What is to be pointed in this paper is that Sylvia Plath actually represents the “Mirror”. That it is her, “…meditating on the opposite wall”[6]. Meditate is a human characteristic, so the mirror is taking in a human habit. “The opposite wall” illustrates other people she is in touch with, e. j. her husband, children and friends. Considering previous times in her life (like getting married and having children) she finds something “…pink, with speckles.
After living a certain time of her life with her husband Ted Hughes, he became a part of it and also his name was written deeply in her heart. ” I have looked at is so long I think it is a part of my heart. ” But this happiness was not neverending, after a few years of marriage, in 1962 the couple separated . It was claimed that Ted had been abusive to her and left Sylvia for another woman. That is why the last line of the first stanza finishes with: “Faces and darkness separate us over and over. ” In the second stanza Plath goes on with the personification even with the shift from a mirror to a lake.
It is not represented by her anymore. She stands for a woman “…bending over the lake, searching for what she really is. ” That means that a lake provides more reflection than a mirror would have. Plath compares the mirror and the lake because in a mirror a person is not shown deformed but in a lake any little wave or current distorts a person? s surface reflection and show them who they really are underneath the skin. So many times people seem happy and healthy on the outside but in the inside underneath the perfection which Plath had once been is a distortion they hide from the world and never want to let out.
And when it does come to light they only “…reward with tears and an agitation of hands. ” But despite all of this, in everyone? s there is a hidden desire to know the truth. According to this, would be natural to wonder why everybody is “…turning to those liars, the candles or the moon. ” As it is described at the very end of this poem, Plath is not being that young girl anymore. What was reflected in the lake and mirror years ago, is not seen nowadays. “In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman. ” Sylvia, same like nobody else, is not very pleased to see that picture of herself in the lake.
Comparing that image to a “…terrible fish,” the reader finds out the Plath? s dissatisfaction with her appearance (not only from the outside but also from the inside). Understanding the poem in general (not considering the writer) Firstly, it is necessary to ask a question what is easier: Telling the truth? or Listening to it? Would not be much easier to lie? What do actually people want to hear? Is it really always the truth what the people are looking for? The thing why these questions has been asked is because in this part the “mirror” as well as the “lake” stands for the “truth”.
Mirror” shows here a truly thoughtful look into the different sights and feelings a mirror would have if it were a live conscious being, unable to lie. The truth is nothing else but: …”exact.. with not preconceptions…. It reflects the person faithfully. ” It is something that gives a person a reason to be delighted or depressed. By this poem and by showing the thoughts and emotions a mirror would emit, Sylvia wants us to look inward towards how we present ourselves to the others and especially to ourselves. It is an eye-opening poem, suggesting to accept yourself the way you are and to present yourself this way.
Not to play somebody? s else role, just because he/she is more popular for others. That is preferred to be done nowadays. Acting like others seems to be the easiest way to become popular. We are forgetting that a deal is not acting the way that others do, but being yourself. We find it hard to accept ourselves for who we truly are. But in the end we all must come to face the facts about who we are and how we must accept and come to grips with it before our socially forced ideals consume us forever in a world of self-loathing. And how is it about listening to the truth?
According to this poem a woman bends over the lake seeking to find what she truly desire to discover (what is in this case beauty), but the lake truthfully reflects back to her what it sees. But because she does not find the answer she was looking for, she turns from the “wrong” reflection as if to look for the “truth” in something else, not expecting what she has just seen. It seems that people prefer “…turning to those liars,…” but on the other hand it also states: “I am important to her. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. It denotes that even if we put the lie in advance, something inside is still interested in knowing the truth. The truth has not been forgotten in this life. It has just been changed for so-called “little white lies” which slowly but surely have been changing for bigger lies. Still, there is another problem being occurred.
Simple question would be: Who wants to get old? The answer would be even easier: nobody. But as it is something natural, something that cannot be changed or stopped, we have to accept it. Nevertheless, not everyone knows how to deal with it. In me she has drown a young girl, and in me an old woman. ” And that is why: “She rewards with tears and an agitation of hands. ” This is in many cases our own story as well. Not ready to admit the age, but still reminding it by looking into mirror or lake each day.
Each day we are reminded by the mirror of our lost youth and beauty that was once projected back at us so faithfully. From a different point of view In relation to some experts already analyzing this poem, what we see in a mirror, is nothing but what is created by our own psyche, self-perceptions and self-conscience.
All a mirror is, is a sketch of what we think and how we feel about ourselves, may it be an image that comes from another? s perception of us or not. So it is only up to us how we decide to see ourselves in there. Conclusion In conclusion, according to Neslihan Ekmekcioglu in Sylvia Plath? s poetry, surfaces which are capable of reflecting images from within such as the mirror, the lake, the moon, indeed, stand for her desperate search for her own identity and the reality of her inner psyche. 7] Nevertheless, it is not only reflecting Sylvia Plath? s life and feelings but it has a lot in common with people living these days. It shows the real problems of nowadays that everyone deals with. Everyone wants to be perfect and it is hard to discover our failure. The same like it is hard to find out the truth about ourselves. But only by learning from our own mistakes we can get better and only by knowing the truth about ourselves we can have a good life.

Bibliography
http://www.angelfire.com/zine/donnamford/confessional.html
http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5650

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