Mirror Sylvia Plath Essay

Now we see the interaction of the mirror with the exterior.It keeps looking at the opposite wall which is pink and has spots on it.

Sylvia Plath chooses a simple everyday object, ‘a mirror’ in her poem and puts perspective to it by assuming its voice and expressing things one would barely think of.

By using a mirror as the speaker of the poem, she explores the life of a woman as she grows old from an outward perspective.

They appease her with falsities, whereas the mirror shows her the truth.

This is why the mirror considers himself a superior friend.

The poetess suffered from clinical depression and attempted suicide several times, succeeding in 1963 at the age of 30.

It is unclear when this poem was written, but it is alleged that it was around 1961, at a time when the poet had undergone much emotional turmoil and had also produced a number of works including her only novel ‘The Bell Jar.’ The poem was published in 1971 as a part of the anthology ‘Crossing the Water.’ The theme of the poem is that of truth and its effects. It is imperative to read between the lines of the poem to fully grasp its idea.The mirror here is used as a symbol to procreate the poet’s own emotions and states. There is an impending question in the poem: is it better to know the truth even when it is dissatisfying?Free Verse: The poem is a free verse, in that it has no rhyme scheme.Whereas, the second concentrates on the life of a woman where the mirror assumes the role of a lake.In the first stanza the mirror tells us about itself and describes its experiences: what it has seen and what it does most of the time.It is further unbound by any of the formal metres for rhythm.Symmetry: The poem is divided into two stanzas and each stanza has nine lines each. This forms for the symmetry in the structure and composition of the poem.It can also be argued that the mirror is used as a conduit by the poet to express herself. This may perhaps be the reason why we have such an unusual speaker, ‘a mirror’ as the voice of the poem. A woman bends over me, Searching my reaches for what she really is. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.The poet ‘swallows whatever she sees’, that is, adopts any mode of thinking projected towards her in an attempt to fit in. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.” Next we see the lake as a mirror.The flickering of the pink wall ‘over and over’ and the ageing of the woman ‘day by day’ are the examples of this.The poem is divided into two stanzas with the first one establishing the nature of the mirror as truthful, honest and impartial.


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