A comparison between "Blackberrying" by Sylvia Plath and "Mirror" by Sylvia Plath

Essay by gr34tadi_daHigh School, 10th grade August 2007

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The Poem "Blackberrying", by Sylvia Plath has a cheery mood around it. The first verse and a half is celebratory of the poems' main theme, the beauty of nature. However, there are also certain links to motherhood as a theme for the poem as well, which we shall also explore. The poems mood slowly darkens. Sylvia Plath liked to use her own life to translate into her poems, and this is a classic example of this. Her life slowly fell apart in her later years with a bad marriage and serious mental problems, and the mood in this poem can reflect directly to her experiences.

The second aspect of the poem I want to take into account is the theme. Taking into account the literal wording of the poem, it can be seen that the poet is concentrating on the beauty of nature as a main theme.

If you go deeper into the poems meaning, into the metaphorical ideas encoded in the words, a number of relations to motherhood can be made out.

Plath found a sense of contentment in motherhood in her own life and it is a theme expressed strongly in her poetry. The repeated use of the word 'blackberries' is used to alliterate and place emphasis the importance of the object in the poem, which could maybe be a symbol of how Plath's children were an important part of her life.

References to childbearing are also made, but possibly the strongest link towards motherhood is when Plath mentions 'blood sisterhood' relating to the blackberry bushes as a metaphor for the bond between mother and child. A number of other minor themes also make appearances throughout the poem, such as the abrupt end which the road comes to in the third stanza, a metaphor for 'death'.

The Poem "Mirror" by Sylvia Path, Mood wise, has similar structure to the "Blackberrying" poem. The mood is moderately pleasant during the beginning "The eye of a little god, four-cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long, I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers." Exactly like in the Blackberrying poem, the poet uses keywords and phrases to create the mood.

As we move on to the end, the words and terms she uses indicates a increasingly depressed mood, with phrases like "Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness." "In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman" -and- "Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish."The theme of the poem "Mirror" is expressed more in metaphorical terms, unlike "Blackberrying", which we described as having themes situated on two different levels, the literal one and the metaphorical one. Like in the other poem, she uses a main object to cast her theme across. Like the Berries in "Blackberrying", a Mirror is used to translate the theme "Truthfulness".

Each and every line in this poem can be said to link the Mirror with the main theme, which is different to the "Blackberrying" poem, in which different lines and stanzas could relate to different themes. Phrases like "I have no preconceptions" "I am not cruel, only truthful" and "Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me, Searching my reaches for what she really is." all strongly reinforce the link between the metaphorical Mirror, and the main theme - Truth. But, like I said, all lines in this poem relate to the main theme, and various others relate to certain minor themes.

Now a summary of all the comparisons we have targeted between "Mirror" and "Blackberrying". The mood's created in both poems were of very similar format, both starting on a high and steadily decreasing. The transition from cheery to bleak was slightly more extreme in "Blackberrying", but both poems created the desired effect.

The moods in the poems were created in the same way, using key words and phrases to create emotion. Phrases such as 'pink with speckles' created a positive atmosphere, while phrases such as 'faces and darkness separate us' decreased the overall 'cheer level' of the poems.

Themes were created differently in the two poems, in the sense that "Blackberrying" used both literal and metaphorical terms to portray its themes on different levels, which included "motherhood", "death" and the "nature'. While the poem "Mirror" used metaphors such as the mirror itself to portray its theme, its main one being "Truthfulness".