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Sylvia Plath's

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1043 "Mirror" Essay AP English 12 Ms. Kaste Sylvia Plath's "Mirror" offers a unique perspective on the attitudes of aging. "Mirror" displays tremendous insight and objectivity into the natural human behavior of growing older. Plath is able to emphasize the loneliness, hope, despair, and insecurity that awaits us through mankind's incessant addiction with reflection. "Mirror" expresses the problems associated with aging through terse comparisons between reality and desire. Plathe's strength of "Mirror" lies in its ability to establish a solid comparison among appearance and human emotions between the first and second stanzas. At first "Mirror" introduces reflection as a precise and accurate force through utilizing the first person perspective of a mirror: "I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see I swallow immediately Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful.." ...read more.


It is also a very objective telling of both the aging and reflection process in that "faces and darkness separate us over and over" stemming from the people who come and go in front of this mirror. Who are almost getting in the way so to speak of its life and it can be assumed they already know the range of emotions they are receiving when they look into this mirror. Plathe's second stanza is clearly engineered to reveal the darker aspects of reflection. In the second paragraph the perspective changes from a mirror to that of a lake. In doing so does the shift in message for it marks the change in reflection from exact to distorted. She is also able to clearly show this by utilizing a simple reflection of a woman: "A woman bends over me searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. ...read more.


Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish." (Plathe lines 14-18) This passage then solidifies Plathe's critical message of aging as seen through the usage of words like "replaces the darkness", "drowned a young girl" and "a terrible fish". Which when combined together creates an extremely negative outlook on aging as something that not only destroys our reflection but also ones sense of identity, purpose, and confidence. The critical comparisons found in Sylvia Plath's "mirror" portray a distinctive attitude towards aging. Through contrasting the two separate stanzas the messages of desire, reality, individuality, fear, and insecurity are all demonstrated. Once the essence of Plathe's attitude is unlocked in "mirror" the emotion behind the writing is seen as the motivation for a tone that displays intense longing or weariness towards life. This becomes epitomized throughout Plathe's presentation as it utilizes age as a catalyst for the deterioration of the human spirit. ...read more.

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