Sylvia Plath struggled throughout her life. She found a love for writing and exhibited her talent for words early on. She started school early and began writing poems at the age of five. From then on, Plath’s passion for words influenced her life greatly. In addition to writing, love was a large aspect of Plath’s life. Her rocky relationship with her husband Ted Hughes caused her o go into a deep state of depression.
This unhealthy relationship also had a large influence on her poetry.
The unconventional poetry of Sylvia Plath reflected her life experiences, her search for love, and her unstable mental state. From early on, Sylvia Plath experienced many things no person should ever wish to experience. At the age of eight her father suddenly died from complications of diabetes (Sylvia Plath). This directly influenced her famous poem, “Daddy,” where she depicts her strict, authoritarian relationship with her father. Because Auto Plath died hen Plath was very young, Syliva was never able to express her true feelings towards her father.
She beings to write in the first sentence, “l used to pray to recovery you,” revealing her desire to have had a strong relationship with her father. Then Plath begins to compare her father to a Nazi and herself to a Jew (Moore). She fears her father and feels persecuted by him. Also, Plath’s mother, Aurella Scholber, was forced to work two Jobs to support her family after her husband’s death (Lucas). Plath reveals in her diary her hatred towards her mother. She writes, “What to do ith her, with the hostility, undying, which I feel for her?
I want, as ever, to grab my life from out under her hot itchy hands. My life, my writing, my husband, my conceived baby. ” Aurella Plath lived for and through her children. She was completely selfless and would do anything for her children. Plath hated this and would continuously trace the boundaries for herself that her mother neglected to impose (Moses). Furthermore, because Plath exhibited signs of success early on, she began school two years early (Sylvia Plath). She was criticized and Judged throughout er years of school because of her intelligence and young age.
The only way she knew to escape her harsh reality was through her writing. Her writing is a direct reflection of her life. As Plath grew older her life became a rollercoaster. She went through many ups and downs that shaped her poetry. After high school graduation, Plath moved to Cambridge, England on a scholarship (Sylvia Plath). There, she met English poet Ted Hughes who was six years older than her. At the age of twenty-four, Plath married Hughes (Sylvia Plath) less than a year after they met. This was one of the more Joyous times of her life that influenced her happier poems.
A year later, they moved back to Massachusetts, and soon after her life changed forever when she gave birth to their children Frieda in 1960 and Nicholas in 1962 (Syliva Plath). They brought Joy to her life and what she truly needed to inspire her writing. Very rarely was Plath viewed as a “happy’ person or writer. She went through very few highs in her life. One of the happier times in her life was when she was married composed the poem, “Morning Song. ” It is a moving poem that depicts becoming a ew mother. The newborn brings Joy to Plath but also brings extreme anxiety.
She feels the baby is part of her life, but feels as if she is a stranger to the child as the very first image of the conception of the baby reveals. The mother claims that love has caused the babys arrival and says, “Love set you going like a fat gold watch. ” This reveals her desire to own the child who belongs to the father’s clan and not to hers (Sharma). What Plath is trying to convey to the readers is that as the baby gets older, it acquires its own individuality and this mother fears this. In the second stanza, the child is being compared to a “new statue” located in a “drafty museum,” a place for nonliving things.
This suggests the vulnerability of the mother regarding her newborn (Sharma). Furthermore, the title of the poem, “Morning Song,” is symbolic of the rebirth of the female self as a new mother. This poem reflects Plath’s new anxiety of motherhood and her Joyous time of life. The 1930’s were a time when women struggled to gain rights. Plath lived in an era that defined a woman’s role. She felt confined by a male dominated society, which aused her to become very skeptical of love (How Did Sylvia Plath Treat the Theme of Feminism in Her Poetry).
At first, she hated men because of how women were treated and strongly believed that women should be treated equally but struggled to gain respect (Plath, Sylvia). This time period caused Plath to isolate herself from society. She rarely left her home and was scared to find love (Sylvia Plath). Her anxiety towards love influenced many of her feminist works. Plath struggled with feelings of inadequacy throughout her life. She felt inferior to men and was insulted by the constraints of society. This led her to compose the novel, The Bell Jar.
Here, she speaks for all women with a startling feminist view, criticizing the male dominated society (How Did Sylvia Plath Treat the Theme of Feminism in Her Poetry). In the Bell Jar, the character, Esther, is a product of the patriarchal society in which Plath lives. Esther is a very intelligent woman but is restrained by the time period she lives in. The other character in the novel, Buddy, portrays a typical male during the 1950’s. He believes his Job, as a doctor is more important than Esther’s work. One night as Esther is returning home from a hotel she egins vomiting.
She states, “l would feel it rising up in me again, and the glittering while torture chamber tiles under my feet and over my head and on all four sides closed in and squeezed me to pieces. ” Esther believes she must cleanse herself before she returns home. What she is really doing is cleansing herself from society. Esther wants to rise up against society but is unable to and remains trapped in a Bell Jar (Voight). This entire novel demonstrates Plath’s views of men throughout life. It can almost be viewed as an autobiography. Throughout the novel, Esther, represents Plath and her story is a direct reflect of Plath’s life.
As life went on, Plath continued to feel a sense of hostility towards men. This all had changed when she med Ted Hughes’, whom she thought would be the love of her life, in 1956 (Sylvia Plath). This newfound relationship caused her to let her guard down and accept men into her life. Hughes brought a new Joy to Plath’s life and changed her perspective of men. At first, Plath wanted to hide the marriage but as time went on she became proud of her love and never wanted it to end (Neurotic The beginning stages of Plath and Hughes marriage exemplified a perfect elationship. They quickly fell in love and they had two beautiful children.
As time went on, however, Plath needed to constantly be reassured that she was loved (Sylvia Plath). Hostility formed between the two and their marriage finally came to an end when Hughes left Plath for his mistress, Asia Gutman Wevill (Syliva Plath). This caused Plath to spiral into a state of depression. Plath developed a pattern where, throughout her life, stress would lead to illness, which would cause depression and more stress (Neurotic Poets-Sylvia Plath). Beginning in childhood, because she had begun school two years early, Plath was ften teased and lacked social skills.
She had few friends, which caused signs of depression early on. As years passed, Plath went off to college, where she experienced periodic bouts of depression (Neurotic Poets-Sylvia Plath). One day, when Plath had returned home her mother noticed healing scars on her legs. When her mother asked what those were, Plath said she Just “wanted to see if I had the guts” and admitted that, ‘l wanted to die! ” After this, she was immediately taken to see a psychiatrist (Neurotic Poets-Sylvia Plath). Plath had several sessions and was finally diagnosed with severe depression.
Then, Plath began electroshock therapy, which was thought to be the best treatment at that time. As this therapy continued, Plath developed acute insomnia (Neurotic Poets-Syliva Plath). She went through a period where she did not sleep for three weeks and became immune to sleeping. Plath hated life. She felt trapped and wanted to find a way out. Because of Plath’s intense depression, she attempted to commit suicide. On August 24, 1954, Plath broke into the family lock box and stole forty pills. She took these pills and fell into a deep sleep under her porch (Neurotic Poets-Sylvia Plath).
When her family discovered her missing, a search was launched. Two days later she was found alive. Plath’s plan to kill herself was unsuccessful and she was then admitted to a mental hospital. She was released eight months later and had found a new inspiration for writing (Neurotic Poets-Sylvia Plath). The newfound inspiration brought Plath great success. She began bleaching her hair platinum blonde to proclaim her “new persona” (Neurotic Poets-Sylvia Plath). That spring, many things went well for her. She won a poetry prize and continued to earn excellent grades throughout school (Neurotic Poets-Sylvia Plath).
During the summer this all began to change when she began to date an older man whom she claimed had raped her (Neurotic Poets-Sylvia Plath). Plath was never fully able to recover from this traumatizing experience and continued to struggle throughout life. When Plath was married to Hughes, she was blissful. This all changed when her marriage rapidly came to an end. Plath’s world became too much for her to take and the depression had overcome her. No one was able to stop Plath and on February 1 lth, 1963, one of the coldest English winters, she killed herself in one of the most unconventional ways.
Plath locked herself in the kitchen and knelt in front of the open oven and turned the gas on (Neurotic Poets-Sylvia Plath). Finally, Plath’s misery came to an end. Sylvia Plath’s work often reveals a harsh, demonic, devastating, inner self. Most of her poems dealing with her mental illness were published after her suicide (Sylvia her long, hidden rage over “years of doubleness, smiles, and compromise” (Sylvia Plath 2). Plath uses extended metaphors as she compares life and crossing over to crossing a “black lake. ” This poem was written at a time in Plath’s life where death was continuously on her mind.
She believed death was everywhere and it blinded her to see everything else in the world as she indicates by writing, “are you not blinded by such expressionless sirens? ” This poem shows the true effect of Plath’s mental illness on her life. Critics regarded Plath as the poet of death (Sylvia Plath 2). Her poetry is labeled as confessional, but is really a combination between fact and fiction, where the reader never really knows which is which (Moore). “Her true gift was being able to provide autobiographical info in her poetry without her poetry becoming a biography itself” (Moore).
Plath was admired and often praised for the passion and formal structure of her poems, where she confronted her tensions and conflicts (Lucas). Although she was sometimes criticized for the intensity and truthfulness of her poems, Plath left an everlasting mark on literature by introducing a new style of writing. Sylvia Plath’s poetry was a direct reflection of her hardships, her hostility towards men, and her mental illness. All of these factors led her to be an influential poet. Early on, Plath faced many hardships in her childhood. These hardships continued to follow her throughout her life.
Her life experiences were a direct influence on her poetry. Also, Plath’s poetry largely focused on feminism. She lived in a male dominated society, which caused her to write about her feelings towards men. She was skeptical of finding love and wanted to be treated equally. All these factors contributed to Plath’s mental illness. She is viewed as one of the darkest poets. The only way she knew to escape her dark life was through her writing. Thus, Plath introduced a new confessional style of writing and influenced many literary works. She left a mark on the world of literature and will never be forgotten.
Cite this essay
Sylvia Plath. (2018, May 30). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/sylvia-plath-essay