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Compare and contrast Sylvia Plath 'Blackberrying', Sylvia Plath 'Mirror' and Elizabeth Jennings 'My Grandmother' using the theme loneliness and depression

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Introduction

Compare and contrast Sylvia Plath 'Blackberrying', Sylvia Plath 'Mirror' and Elizabeth Jennings 'My Grandmother' using the theme loneliness and depression I have chosen two poems by Sylvia Plath called 'Blackberrying' and 'Mirror'. Plath was a manic depressive most of her life, she was married to Ted Hughes who later became poet laureate, but despite this marriage she claimed never to feel truly loved nor that she could give all her love to one person. She committed suicide at the age of 30 leaving two children and her husband so bereaved he did not write poetry for 3 years after her death. The other poem I have chosen is called 'My grandmother' by Elizabeth Jennings, she also suffered a mental breakdown at the age of 40 after the recovery from a serious illness. Like Plath the years of asperity in her life were enhanced in her poems and the comparisons between the two ways of expressing this loneliness and sadness are to be compared and contrasted in this essay. In the poem 'Blackberrying' Plath talks about walking down a lane towards the sea whilst picking blackberries in a milk-bottle. The first verse of the poem starts by describing the fact that she is alone 'nobody in the lane, and nothing', does this imply that she is often on her own? ...read more.

Middle

way 'she' is infrequent as it shows un-stability 'she comes and goes' but it's as if the woman is her master and the narrator doesn't get a choice as she is represented by the mirror unable to move, obediently reflecting anything that comes in her path. The relationship between the two characters in the poem suggests they need each other to survive how 'she' is the narrator's master but 'she' rewards the narrator with tears it is clear they need each other and the narrator (the new Plath) still needs the old Plath to stay as she is to be able to refer back to when she was that other person and knows not to be her again. This bizarre form of relationships can be reflected into Sylvia Plath's life, her unstable relationship with her husband but still they remain together and affect each other greatly. There is a lot of contrast in this poem, light and dark is used to show the importance of the infrequent day and how it changes to night 'she turns to those liars, the candles and the moon'. There are also a lot of metaphors in the poem, 'faces and darkness separate us over and over' the faces that separate her portray that there are people in her life that ...read more.

Conclusion

I think all the poems are effective at adeptly displaying their ideas on loneliness and how it influences the poet's life individually. The first poem by Sylvia Plath is different to 'Mirror' because although both talk about the relationships, in 'Blackberrying' the relationship is between her and an object and in 'Mirror' it is between her future and her past and is all about wanting to be someone else and growing wiser by learning from your mistakes. 'Blackberrying' is about how she is feeling at present, with herself and the people around her, this idea of creating relationships is also taken on by Elizabeth Jennings but she does not talk of personal experiences but those of possibly people she knows or simply her opinion of what life will be like for her when she reaches the age of a grandmother. Perhaps the shock of surviving a serious illness made her realise she may never reach this age and so has already started to feel lonely at a younger age than the people in her poem. From comparing these poems I have learnt that there is more than one way of expressing the same emotion and different people choose to express them in ways that suit them and there is not a stereotypical way of doing this. 1 ...read more.

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