A Comparison of Sylvia Plath's 'Blackberrying' and 'Mirror'

Essay by bubblewrap000University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2003

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There are many similarities between these two poems; one of these is the hidden feelings and messages the voices convey in the poems. The poems work on two levels and can be taken as being very matter of fact and simplistic, saying what a person or object sees. In 'Mirror' the voice talks in an objective way; only stating what it sees and does not examine the feelings of the woman. This is very characteristic of a mirror as it is 'only truthful' and will 'reflect [what it sees] faithfully'. The poem can also be seen on another level by analysing what the mirror sees of the woman's distress, 'her tears and...agitation of hands' and the idea that she has 'drowned a young girl'. This is also evident in 'Blackberrying' as the poem could be seen as a basic blackberry pick trip. However, if you analyse the language used such as 'beating and beating at an intractable metal' and the repetition of 'blackberries' in the first four lines, you get a sense of the woman's panic and feeling of claustrophobia in life.

Another similarity of the two poems is the variety of feelings conveyed in them. Both 'Blackberrying' and 'Mirror' are written by Sylvia Plath and reflect distress and agitation experienced during her life. This is more apparent in 'Mirror' as the voice of the poem talks of the woman's 'tears and an agitation of hands'. These are both clear signs of distress. The poem also talks of the woman's fear of death, as she has 'drowned a young girl' in the mirror and 'an old woman rises towards her...like a terrible fish'. The author's feelings and thoughts are also revealed in 'Blackberrying', but in a subtler manner. In this poem you sense the voice's need for acceptance. She talks...