Sylvia Plath Trivia: The Revolutionary Poet and Advocate

Women’s Day may be over but who says we cannot continue to celebrate women! Today, we explore and celebrate the extraordinary poet and amazing advocate for women, Sylvia Plath.

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Sylvia plath poet

Sylvia Plath was an American poet, author, and feminist icon. She is commonly credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry and is best known for one of my favorite books The Bell Jar. Plath was born in Boston and studied at Smith College. She married fellow poet Ted Hughes.

Sylvia Plath Poet
IMAGE VIA BBC

Sylvia Plath Greatly Struggled With Mental Illness.

Their relationship was tumultuous and in her letters, she blames abuse at his hands. Plath was diagnosed with clinical depression in her early adulthood, and she suffered from it all of her adult life. She endured electroshock therapy, and eventually succumbed to her illness and committed suicide in 1963.

She had tried to take her life multiple times throughout her life. She slashed her legs at 18, overdosed on sleeping pills, and even attempted to take her own life by purposefully crashing her car. When she, unfortunately, took her own life for the last time she was found with her head in an oven. Her kids were in their rooms with the doorknobs covered with cloth for protection.

In the letters found after death, it was discovered that her husband was having an affair with their landlady,  Assia Wevill, and moved out to live with her leaving Plath to raise their kids alone. Unfortunately, Assia took her own life in the same fashion as Plath years later, also killing their four-year-old child. Additionally, to make matters grimmer, Plath’s son took his own life in his late 40’s; he also suffered clinical depression. 

Plath And Her Literary Legacy

Sylvia Plath Poet
Plath’s grave reads “Even amidst fierce flames, the golden lotus can be planted”| IMAGE VIA LITERARYHUB

Plath wrote a multitude of amazing poems and stories that frequently centered around confessionals and her own personal thoughts and emotions. One of my personal favorite poems of hers is Mirror. Mirror was written in 1961, and it is a two-stanza poem.

During the time of writing this Plath was living in England with her husband. She had just given birth to their first child, Frieda. This was a stressful time for Plath; as a first-time mother, she was struggling with relationship problems with her spouse, and deep down she struggled with the fact that time was passing and she was growing older and older. She dreaded the idea of settling down and aging. Mirror explores this uncertainty of self through Plath’s powerful language, sharp imagery, unusual syntax, and astute use of enjambment Mirror is a personification of great depth. 

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