- THE BARE FACT OF LIFE AND DEATH, of death in life, of life becoming death, of suicide.
- CRISIS OF EXISTENCE, which stairs from the loss of identity.
- Plath explores the dissolution of the SELF, the destruction of the individual.
- EXPERIENCE OF THE FAMILY
- MEMORY. The immense weight of past experience which perpetuates the self but also inhibits it, making life difficult in the present
- Her FATHER’S DEATH. Her life was blocked by this experience. Her father was an expert in bees (that is a recurrent theme in her poetry). She had a complex relation of love and hate with him, that emerges in her poetry.
Poppies in July
This poem was written by Sylvia Plath in 1960. It is one of the most representative poems of the author’s mind because from the words she used to describe the poppies emerges the great desperation which characterized her life.
Poppies in October
This poem was written by Sylvia Plath in 1962. It is a particular poem where the author, especially through the use of very strange metaphors, describe the great beauty of poppies.
This poem is the minorities maltreated by the society, for example homosexuals and women.
Sylvia Plath was a feminist. She implies herself as one of the mushrooms in the poem. They do not make speeches or express themselves as how men do. But 'very discreetly, very quietly', they spread their 'seeds' and 'inherit the earth', meaning having an equal status as men do. 'Bland-mannered', 'Perfectly voiceless', these shows how Sylvia and all women stay calm and intellectually while spreading their seeds and taking over the earth, gaining themselves equal treaty as men.
This is another poem of Silvia Plath. If one doesn’t read the title, it seems to be a riddle, considering that the poet gives us a lot of information and characteristics of the mirror; in fact, this poem consists of short “messages”, which have to give people an idea of this object.
Then, the mirror turns into a lake, where a woman goes, in order to look at herself, trying to find her essence. This character is in contrast with the terrible “secret”, kept by this lake: there, a young lady committed suicide. This topic seems to clash with the atmosphere of simplicity, created in this poem
Sylvia Plath dedicated this poem to her father, who died, when she was just eight years old. Reading this poem, one can think that Silvia hated his father, because she addresses him, saying “You bastard…; I have had to kill you…; You do not do…black shoe”. Actually, she was “in love” with her father and, when he died, she felt lonely, without points of reference and she saw this unbearable loss as a betrayal.
Silvia sees him as a monster, who made her suffer, breaking “he pretty red hearth in two”, while his heart was made of stone.
The Bell Jar[h1][/h1]
- The Bell Jar is Sylvia Plath's only novel, which was originally published under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas" in 1963.
- The novel is semi-autobiographical, with the names of places and people changed to avoid causing offense. After Plath's suicide, the novel was published under her real name, and the novel did cause great offense. Sylvia Plath's mother, Aurelia Plath, tried to prevent the book from being published in the United States.
- An autobiographical account of Sylvia Plath's own mental breakdown and suicide attempt, The Bell Jar is more than a confessional novel, it is a comic but painful statement of what happens to a woman's aspirations in a society that refuses to take them seriously. A society that expects electroshock to cure the despair of a sensitive, questioning young artist whose search for identity becomes a terrifying descent toward madness.
The Bell Jar: summary
A vulnerable young girl Esther Greenwood, wins a scholarship in New York City to work at a prominent magazine under the editor Jay Cee, at the time of the Rosenbergs' execution and finds herself plunged into a nightmare.
- Esther struggles to cope with life in New York, and returns to her home in Boston in low spirits. Esther becomes increasingly depressed, and finds herself unable to sleep. She sees a psychiatrist who quickly recommends electroshock therapy
- The book tells us the adventures of a young woman in a male-dominated society that will not let her achieve her true potential. Plath's alter ego, Esther, is thus driven to a nervous breakdown and attempts suicide numerous times.
- In many ways, this novel is a feminist text, centred around the struggles of a young woman who cannot reach her goals in our male-dominated society.
- People close to Esther, do not accept her talents as a poet and writer, but rather try to push her into traditionally more feminine roles. For example, Esther's mother repeatedly tries to convince her to learn shorthand, but Esther rebels.
In this poem, Sylvia Plath compares his father with the Colossus of Rhodes, destroyed by an earthquake in 226 B.C.
Sylvia Plath wrote this poem after her father’s death and the main topic is the relationship between the poet and the father. The dominant feelings of this poem are the sadness and the sense of impotence, considering that Sylvia feels lonely, without points of reference. She would like to be protected by her father, but she is aware that it’s important to begin a new life, without him (I squat in the cornucopia of your left ear)
Sylvia sees her father as the Colossus: she tries, in every way, to put the pieces together, to rebuild it, but she is well- aware that it is only an utopia and she knows that all her efforts will be insufficient: her father is dead and she has to accept this unbereable loss…