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“Mirror” by Sylvia Plath Essay Sample

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“Mirror” by Sylvia Plath Essay Sample

When I first read this poem it did nothing for me, but as the days passed I decided to give it another chance and when I re-read it I began to cry, literally cry. I felt like it was speaking to me and saying everything I wouldn’t dare say. I guess there is always a poem like that for everyone, one that touches the heart. Sylvia Plath an American, beautiful, talented poet created such masterpieces in her time. Unfortunately Sylvia Plath committed suicide on February 11, 1963. The reason for her tragic death remains a mystery, but there are speculations that it was the outcome of her divorce and loneliness. Though she no longer lives, her poems live on and once in a while touch the hearts of those in need of a voice.

The “Mirror” by Sylvia Plath is a deep poem that comes of soft, but when reading in between the lines one can almost feel the anger and unhappiness jump out of the page. The poem begins with the first sentence, “I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see, I swallow immediately.”  Here the writer is expressing how she has no voice and takes whatever is thrown at her.

The words “Silver and exact” almost seem sarcastic yet it helps the reader create a picture of something perfect yet delicate. With this we can almost feel the writer and her desperation of wanting to show who she really is. The writer begins with this poem as if wanting to convince someone. For example when we want to convince someone of ourselves we tend to start of with good things and make ourselves seem extremely amazing and yet human.

“Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike I am not cruel, only truthful – ” Once again the writer is justifying why she is who she is. She explains she is blinded by love and does not see anything wrong even if it is. Almost saying why are you acting like this with me? I am not mean or a liar. The poem began softly, but this is when it begins to build up to an angrier voice. “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 a part of my heart. But it flickers.”

The writer here is I believe is describing a man or someone with authority just because of the word she chose, “God” which in many ways brings the image of power. The writer also says how she tries to give the other side a chance, but somehow the side looks pretty and has become such a huge part of her that she cant separate from it. What really caught my attention was this part, “But it flickers”. This caught my attention because when I read flicker I thought of a light bulb about to burn out, which might symbolize this loves close end point.

“Faces and darkness separate us over and over.” The tone of the poem shifts back to a softer voice and explains that it’s no longer pretty and that they are continually being separated, both no longer on the same team. The writer’s voice seems sad and tiered. “Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me. Searching my reaches for what she is. Then she turns to those liars, candles or the moon.”

I love this part because the lake is being used as a metaphor of a mirror. This is the character searching within herself and exploring what she now see’s. Its amazing how this is when the next stance actually begins and the tone is completely different. The writer seems to have done this to separate the beginning and end of this woman’s journey. The first stance was hr explaining what was happening and who she was and how she is who she is now. This woman is seeing herself and is searching who she really is and describes what is around her.

It is beautiful how she mentions liars, candles and moon as something in the background of the woman. The first thing she mentions is liar, but then switches to candles and moon which seems to be something completely different, but when you think about it, it could symbolize how real and visible these liars are, but yet seem to be hidden either by her or others. “I see her back, and reflect it faithfully She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.”

Here the writer describes what she sees the woman doing. She sees that the woman is angry and done with something, that she cannot take it anymore. The writer is so sincere to her feelings and wraps me around in this world, which then makes me feel this anger this need to want to scream and just jump like an angry animal. The writer then goes back to explaining the importance of this woman being reflected, but explains that this woman is fake, that the truth of this woman comes and then goes. This could be because she is scared and cant show who she really is as referenced before she is trying to explain who she really is. The writer here uses not only description of what the character is doing but also explains what she is feeling.

“In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.” Here the writer concludes with saying that the young girl in her has been killed and replaced with this tiered old woman. I believe this can be both good and bad. The writer can be trying to explain that she Is no longer young like before, but in fact way more experienced and wont be that dumb young girl she once was. I love the wording that Sylvia uses here. Instead of saying waking up day by day she says rises day by day making it seem that this woman is dead and comes back to life everyday. She also uses the word fish, which makes me think of “Fish without water” which makes me think of her feeling like she is not where she should be.

Sylvia Plath organized this poem in two stances, which seemed to be written in the format of first and second part of a story or even in before and after way. The beginning of the poem was very soft, both are composed of nine lines. The first stance begins I am as in present tense, but then begins the second stance in now I am which makes it seem as if she’s a complete different person from beginning to end.

There is definitely a lot of periods and commas, about eighteen periods and nine commas. The word I is constantly used making it clear that its all about her, her , her. This poem touched my heart and I’ve never had the experience of crying while reading poetry until I read the “Mirror”. I am very emotional and this poem was made for me. In life I personally have taken a lot and a lot of people have walked all over me and this was a wake up call that I am not the only one and should somehow express myself as this poet did.

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