Speech on Sylvia Plath and "Poppies in July"

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Normalcy is boring. Walking past a storefront, if a person sees out of the corner of their eye something they’ve seen in the past four stores, they won’t take a second glance. On the other hand if they saw something detailed and abstract, it stands out and piques their interest. The same thing can be applied when talking about a reader and literature. A work like Sylvia Plath’s “Poppies In July” has the ability to capture an audience’s attention from the first line, as it could be argued to be almost abstract. The poem opens by amiably describing flowers. However, the ending of the first line foreshadows something more sinister or dangerous, by referring to the poppies as “little hell flames”. The irony seems odd, considering flowers are generally used to convey a light and cheerful mood, but in this case are being used adversely. A reader knowing information about the author could add to the appeal of a work. Plath was said to be “crazy” in some people’s eyes, so people have the opportunity to delve into her mind by reading her poems. Plath’s fragile emotional state is thought to be the root of her passionate, yet somewhat depressing works. Her mental and emotional suffering began at a young age. Plath was raised a Unitarian Christian, but the death of her father at the age of eight caused a huge loss of faith, along with a loss of hope for Plath. For the rest of her years, she was ambivalent towards religion. She married a man named Ted Hughes, with whom she had spent months exchanging sappy love poems. Moving to London, Plath gave birth to a girl. Her next pregnancy, however, ended in a miscarriage, which although tragic, gave her pain which bolstered her writing. To add to Plath’s despondency, her husband fell in love, almost at first sight, with a woman they rented their house to. In June of 1962, Plath was in car accident, which she described as only one of an abundance of suicide attempts. In July, Plath discovered her husband had been having an affair,...
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