Poetry Explication of Sylvia Plath’s “Mirror”

949 WordsJul 23, 20084 Pages
Poetry Explication of Sylvia Plath’s “Mirror” The first thing one can notice in Sylvia Plath’s poem “Mirror” (rpt. In Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson, Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense, 9th ed. [Boston: Wadsworth, 2006] 680) is that the speaker in the poem is the mirror and the woman in the poem is Sylvia Plath. As you read through the poem, the lake is relevant because of the famous mythological story of narcissus. He was extremely beautiful and one day while drinking from a lake he saw his reflection. He looked at it for so long and so close that he fell in the river and died. This shows the consequences of vanity. Sylvia Plath uses this metaphor to show that the little girl that used to look in that mirror has now…show more content…
Sylvia Plath cannot bear the truth and begins to cry; she constantly wants something else to make her feel good about herself, she longs to be young. “I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. She goes back to the lake for answers every morning and the lake is pleased to see her. The poem ends by the lake saying “In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.” This shows Sylvia Plath’s dislike of how old she looks. Sylvia Plath has been looking in this mirror every day for a long period of time, and she is realizing that she is getting older and she cannot do anything about it. Other authors also find that Sylvia Plath dislikes what she sees in the poem. “The terrible fish is not just a symbol of approaching old age: it is the image of “monstrous autonomy” that stares back at the literary woman in so many of her texts, often out of the mirror of that text into which she gazes in embittered self-search”( rpt. In William Freedom, “The Monster in Plath's 'Mirror'. Papers on Language and Literature 108 [1993]: pp. 163). Sylvia Plath hates the old person she has become and longs to be young

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