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“Poets See the World through Eyes Different from Other People” - How far do you think this comment applies to the work of Sylvia Plath?

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Introduction

"Poets See the World through Eyes Different from Other People" Question: How far do you think this comment applies to the work of Sylvia Plath? Sylvia Plath was one of the leading poets of her time. She was born in Boston and later moved to England where she met and married a leading English poet Ted Hughes. Both her and Hughes were unhappy in their relationship. This lead Plath to become suicidal and paranoid, which reflected in her work. 'Lady Lazarus' was a poem all about her inner pain and frequent suicide attempts. In 1963 she was finally successful and took her own life. One of her many poems clearly illustrates the paranoia Plath felt and her inner pain as she visualises a pleasant task like blackberrying as a dark and twisted world where she is hunted by her enemies, men! Blackberrying Stansa One To open the play Plath uses the word 'nobody'. With one word she has set the scene as a lonely and destitute place. She reinforces this by describing the lane as 'nothing, nothing but blackberries'. This double negative helps to back up the emptiness, solitude and lack of purpose Plath feels in life. ...read more.

Middle

Plath is then struck by a fierce wind that she describes as 'sudden' as up till this point she has been sheltered from it. Plath describes how she is attacked by 'phantom laundry', which is in fact the fierce gale. We get the idea that she is on a cliff because she says the 'hills are too green and sweet to have tasted salt'. The cliff that Plath was standing on may have been one near where she lived as she describes how she is at the cliffs 'northern face', she is probably standing on North Devon looking out over the Atlantic. Plath again repeats the words 'nothing, nothing' mirroring line one. This repetition is enforcing the poem's sense of emptiness, its negative flavour. The 'white' sea is contending with the dominant 'pewter' and 'black'. Sandwiched in between are strange colours that are 'lit form within' like green and orange. This gives an unpleasant vision of this hostile sea. 'Silver smiths are beating and beating' at an 'intractable metal'. This line again refers to light coloured metals and beating and beating go with protesting, protesting. In spite of this double activity on the part of nature no effect comes of it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Throughout the poem the mirror is personified and the 'candles and moon' are described as 'liars'. Other techniques Plath uses to bring the poem to life are metaphors and similes, she describes the mirror as 'a little God' and old age as a 'terrible fish'. Both the poems are similar and both reflect almost equally Plath's disturbed mind. They both have a sexual undertone and are both written in first person narrative, they both have underlying metal themes the mirror is 'silver and exact' and blackberries features a whole range of alien metals. In both Plath has a distinct fear of water as it brings death and old age like a 'terrible fish'. The form of setting and discipline of verses are strict in both mirror and blackberrying. Conclusion Poets do definitely see the world through eyes different to other people. This is clearly show as in Plath's world blackberrying is a struggle to survive and mirrors do not show your reflection but your ageing and impending doom. Plath had a hard life and hated the idea of growing old. Most of her inspiration comes from her paranoia and this is shown in both poems. These are just two out of over a hundred of Plath's poems but both are similar and have clear underlying tones, of death and ageing. ?? ?? ?? ?? A.M.D.G 15th December 2001 By Harry Young Page 1 ...read more.

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