By: Lee A. Zito
Sylvia Plath was an intelligent young woman of the 1950's and 60's. She attended Smith College on a Academic Scholarship, and wrote award winning works that were submitted to magazines such as Mademoiselle. She projected herself to society as a perfectly content, strong individual who enjoyed living life. The exact opposite of who she really was inside.
Exploring her work is the closest one can get to exploring the real Sylvia. Her poetry portrays a mad woman, who grew insane because she was imprisoned from within. Sylvia had many attributes contributing to her crazed imprisonment all stemming from the cursed word "Woman". Her role as a repressed woman or the 50's was what catapulted her to write with such rage, disgust, and despair.
In the 1950s and 60s, as throughout history, it was extremely hard for a woman to break free of the mold society had enslaved them in.
They were expected to be prim and proper. In Sylvia's case, the ever beautiful and polite, angelic wives of America. To rebel against this was to be the direct opposite, ugly, hateful, rude, and devilish. This was Sylvia, this was the result of her captivity. Society would not let her be free, so she would rebel against it, but only inside and in through writing. All of these emotions within her ultimately destroyed her, creating a struggle with depression and suicide.
The poem "Mirror" shows the somewhat softer side of Sylvia. What appears to be a simple poem about a mirror is actually Sylvia's depressing reaction to her aging reflection. The mirror reflects the truth. It reflects her hands desperately trying to fix herself up, but it is no use. The mirror itself says it will reflect only truth, and Sylvia can not hide from the truth.