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How is Sylvia Plath's life reflected in the poems

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Introduction

How is Sylvia Plath's life reflected in the poems "Daddy", "Morning Song", and "Lady Lazarus"? Sylvia Plath has had an "exciting" life, if I can use this word. Her father died from an undiagnosed diabetes when she was eight. At the same time, a short couplet that she wrote was published in the Boston Sunday Herald. Later, she won scholarships to study in Smith, Harvard, and finally Cambridge. There, Plath married Ted Hughes, who was a good poet, too. What amazes me in her life is that she had attempted suicide three times, once every ten years. In 1963, she succeeded in killing herself as she gassed herself to death. In an outsider point of view I always wonder how a woman with so much going for her would want to end her life: though her husband's infidelity, she was nevertheless successful--her poems appeared in various prestigious newspapers and magazines, and she was even invited to teach English in Smith College. Plath's death has been subject to unending analysis and interpretation, framed by the kind of inquiry that usually guides classroom literary discussions. What was Plath's intention? What did her suicide mean? What did it reveal about her family, her society, her time, her sex, herself? ...read more.

Middle

was an accident.//The second time I meant/To last it out and not come back at all./I rocked shut"-It is presumed that the first time she tried to take her life away from too much pressure studying in Smith. The second time she tried to take her life when she learned that she had not been accepted to a fiction-writing course in Harvard. She was 21 then. The most famous lines in this poem should be "Dying/Is an art, like everything else./I do it exceptionally well." After that Plath explained why she tried to kill herself through Lady Lazarus' account, "I do it so it feels like hell./I do it so it feels real./I guess you could say I've a call." It shows that Plath was hopelessly addicted to committing suicides, like drugs, she could not withstand the urge to kill herself; like a irresistible "call", suicide had become part of her life that it feels so "real" to do so. Years after her death, British critic and poet A. Alvarez would say that Plath's self-destructiveness was "the very source of her creative energy, ...it was, precisely, a source of living energy, of her imaginative, creative power." There is another hint on the second attempt to suicide in the next two stanzas, "It's easy enough to do it ...read more.

Conclusion

"So I never could tell where you/Put your foot, your root,/I never could talk to you./The tongue stuck in my jaw."-after her father's death, Sylvia Plath gradually forgot how to speak German, and she mourned for not being able to communicate to her father. The poem continues, "It stuck like a barb wire snare./Ich, ich, ich, ich,/I could hardly speak./I thought every German was you./And the language obscene". "Ich" means "I" in German. Here, Sylvia Plath keeps on lamenting the loss of her German language. "An engine, an engine/Chuffing me off like a Jew./A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen./I began to talk like a Jew./I think I may well be a Jew." A Jew has no homeland. Plath compares herself to a Jew hints at her eradication of root after her father's death. Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen were German concentration camps, where millions of Jews were executed during World War II. Besides Jews, Plath also likens herself to gypsies: "The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna/Are not very pure or true./With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luck/And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack/I may be a bit of Jew." Tyrol is an Austrian Alpine region. Taroc is a variation for Tarot, a type of ancient fortune-telling cards. Gypsies, like the Jews, were objects of Nazi genocidal ambition, and many of them died in the concentration camps. ...read more.

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