Sylvia Plath Research Paper BY jackteonei112133 Sylvia Plath: Dying to be Young As Emily Dickinson once said, “People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles. ” Sylvia Plath foreshadowed many different things in her poetry that reflect the difficult experiences she endured in life. Her father’s death and her husband’s abandonment influenced her writing in several different of her poems. Plath’s suicidal tendencies and the deep depressions she suffered also led to some of her darkest and more cynical poems. Her work is known for the violent imagery credited to some of her most questionable times in life.Order now
Although Sylvia Plath experienced a hard life full of suicidal thoughts, these unbearable times ultimately led to her most famous poetry today. Plath was born into a Massachusetts home on October 27, 1932 toa highly academic couple. When she was only eight years old her father died of diabetes. When Plath was 21 years old, she went through a serious depression and attempted suicide. Soon after, she met Ted Hughes, an English poet, and married him in 1956 (“Sylvia Plath” 1). The last and final time Sylvia would suffer from depression was in the worst winter of the century in 1963.
Her suicide attempt, in February, was successful due to the use of a gas oven (Wagner-Martin 2). “One cannot clearly distinguish the traumas she experienced from those she constructed in print” (Axelrod 1). As the professor from the University of California Riverside says, Plath’s poems show anguish like none other of her time period. She was a contemporary writer whose poems followed the mentoring of Robert Lowell and Anne Sexton. She took great pride in her writing although her greatest poems were the aftermath of a horrible time for her. For Plath, the most important things were lways those she created: her poems, her children” (Kinsey-Clinton 5). Sylvia’s difficult life and the things she went through contributed to the remarkable poetry she is now recognized for. “His death drastically defined her relationships and her poems- most notably in her elegiac and infamous poem, ‘Daddy” (“Sylvia Plath” 1). First, Sylvia Plath had a complicated relationship with her father and expressed her resentment towards his death in some of her poems. “They always knew it was you. / Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through. This final line to Sylvia Plath’s poem, Daddy’, shows her anguish and hatred towards her father even after his long-ago death. One can blatantly see all throughout this poem that Plath is expressing intense emotions towards her father’s life and death but finally comes to terms with him in the end. She was also illustrating her feelings of resentment towards her husband with her harsh and vivid words. (“Analysis of Sylvia Plath’s ‘Daddy” 1). The poem “Daddy’ exemplifies the pain that was stored and built up in Sylvia’s childhood.
When she first heard of her father’s death, she proclaimed, “l will never speak to God again”. Sylvia believed her father could have prevented his death but instead stood by and did nothing (Wagner-Martin 67). In another poem, “Electra on Azalea Path” she describes her first visit to her father’s grave and the affect it had on her own life in a poetic manner. “l brought my love to bear, and then you died. / It was the gangrene ate you to the bone / My mother said: you died like any man. / How shall I “Electra on Azalea Path” and represent the hard time she is having accepting his death.
Sylvia Plath’s father’s death took a toll on her mental state, but overall helped her beautiful style of writing. Next, her husband, Ted Hughes’s, abandonment provided an excellent source of anger for Plath’s book of poetry, Ariel. “Ted Hughes left Plath and in that winter, in a deep depression, Plath wrote most of the poems that would comprise her most famous book” (“Sylvia Plath” 1). After he left her, she wrote 40 poems of rage and vengeance in less than two months. The poems that composed Ariel have been primarily responsible for Plath’s after-death fame (Stevenson 2).
Sylvia expressed herself through increasingly angry and powerful poems. Poems such as, “Lady Lazarus”, “Ariel”, and “Death & Company’ are all great xamples of her lonely and fuming feelings. In the poem, “Lady Lazarus”, Sylvia Plath ends it with these line; “Out of the ash / I rise with my red hair / And I eat men like air”. Once again, her feeling of neglect and let down by her husband are illustrated in her descriptive word choice and interesting rhyme scheme. “Lady Lazarus” is a poem about her love-hate relationship with death and the agony she went through during the end of her marriage.
Sylvia Plath struggled with many aspects of her personal life and love life. Due to her husband’s desertion, Plath created very owerful poems that will be remembered throughout time as some of her best work. Lastly, the major influence on Sylvia Plath’s writing was her periods of depression and suicidal thoughts. The first battle of deep depression she faced was in college, however, she luckily made it through, and graduated summa cum laude in 1955 (“Sylvia Plath” 1). However, her next period of depression was fatal. Most of Plath’s poetry is dark and violent.
The tone in many of her poems reflects her suicidal feelings and hopeless fears. For instance, in the poem “Mirror”, by Sylvia Plath, the heme of the fear of aging is present within each line. “In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman / Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish. ” Also, it is not a coincidence that Plath died young; Just as the character she portrays would rather die young and be young forever than watch herself age. The parallels between the poem and Plath’s life are easily noted. For instance, Plath’s suicidal attempt at 21, and dying young, both show that she was afraid of aging.
Also, the person in Plath’s poem “Mirror” was unsatisfied with herself and her life, Just as Sylvia Plath was. A well-written poem that resulted from Plath’s suicidal depression is “Nick and the Candlestick”. It is a very sad poem written to her son about maternal love using nature imagery and loving, flowing words (Stevenson 2). Although most of Plath’s poems are violent and angry, this poem shows the variety of poetry to come out of her depression. The combination and collection of Sylvia Plath’s poems contained an underlying tone of rage and rebellion. Plath’s forthright language speaks loudly about the anger of being both betrayed and powerless” (Wagner- Martin, 2). The many difficult things she underwent changed her poems and made her famous. Her poetry often reflects the painful times she experienced; such as, her father’s death at a young age, her husband leaving her with two infants, and her own battles with depression. Also, the issues in Plath’s life gave her grounds for writing very good, deep, and angry poems that will be remembered forever. The depressing factors added to the meanings of her poems and the underlying tone in them. poetry.
Towards the final days of her life, Plath wrote “Twelve final poems shortly efore her death that defined a nihilistic metaphysic from which death provided the only escape” (Stevenson 2). As one can see, Sylvia Plath wrote poems to escape from her problematic life and expressed most of her feelings through her dark poems. Due to her sad experiences, she wrote poems that reflected her suicidal tendencies and, eventually, became famous. Works Cited Alvarez, A1. “How Black Magic Killed Sylvia Plath. ” Guardian Unlimited 15 Sept. 1999: 1-4. 7 May 2008. Axelrod, Steven. “Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)”. The Literary Encyclopedia. 7 September 2003. Accessed 7 May 2008. Critical Analysis of Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy” 1 Aug. 2006. 22 May 2008 Freedman, William. “The Monster in Plath’s ‘Mirror. ” Papers on Language and Literature 5 May 2008: 152-69. vol. 108, NO. 5. Detroit: Gale Research, 1993. Kinsey- Clinton, Michelle. “The Willing Domesticity of Sylvia Plath: a Rebuttal of the ‘Feminist’ Label. ” Sapphireblue. Com. 27 May 1997. 7 May 2008 Stevenson, Anne Linda and Linda Wagner-Martin. “Two Views of Plath’s Life and Career. ” Modern American Poetry. 7 May 2008 “Sylvia Plath. ” Poets. org. 7 May 2008 < http://www. poets. org/printopoet. php/prmPlD/11>.