A biography on the life of Sylvia Plath

Essay by sweetld215High School, 10th grade December 2003

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Sylvia Plath was born on October 27, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts. Her parents were Otto and Aurelia Plath. Plath's father, Otto, immigrated to America from Germany when he was just sixteen years old. He wanted to study ministry at the Northwestern College, which was a small Lutheran school. According to his wife, Aurelia, Otto changed his ambitions because he didn't feel a true "calling" for the ministry. He received a master of the arts from Washington University, and the doctor of science from Harvard. After that, in 1928, he became a biology professor at Boston University. Sylvia's mother, Aurelia, taught German and English at Brookline High School until January of 1932, when she married Otto. She quit teaching because Otto wanted her to be a homemaker. Otto and Aurelia settled in Winthrop, a town near Boston, where Sylvia spent most of her early childhood. Aurelia's immigrant parents from Australia also lived in this town.

Aurelia was heavily involved in her husband's career; they planned cooperative scholarly projects before their marriage, and after that she prepared and updated notes for lectures, reviewed literature, and helped research, write and edit her husband's monographs. Otto's work was the center of the house, which was organized and scheduled, including Sylvia, and her brother Warren, around his needs for privacy and work space. Sylvia and her brother didn't have active social lives. They mostly associated with their parents, maternal grandparents, each other, and a few nice neighbors.

Plath established a strong relationship with her father. Otto was proud of his daughter's early accomplishments, and Sylvia appeared to idolize him. However, in 1940, he became very ill due to a neglected case of diabetes, and he died in November from complications due to the disease. This was a major turning point, and traumatic event in...