I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
-- Sylvia Plath, Smith College, 1954
The above metaphor appears in an amazing poem written by Sylvia Plath. It relates something everyone does everyday, blinking, and turns it into something so sorrowful and thoughtful and deep. When reading this poem, "Mad Girl's Love Song," I get a glimpse of the immensely troubled yet astounding life that Plath led. Although she only had one book, The Bell Jar, published during her short life, she has had 10 more books published posthumously and dozens of books published containing her poetry, including her first poem written at age eight and a half. I consider her the author that has contributed the most to literature. I often wonder how much more she could've written if she hadn't ended her life so soon.
Plath was always an overachiever when it came to her studies. She strived for good grades and was the perfect child. She even graduated Smith College summa cum laude. Her mind however was hardly perfect. During her junior year at Smith she began to suffer from severe suicidal depression. "Some have said that Plath's anxiety stems from her perfectionist' tendencies, the result of her need to please her parents and herself in a hopelessly imperfect world."5 Her breakdown that year was recorded in her semi-autographical novel The Bell Jar, which recalls how she didn't get accepted to a summer writing course and tried to overdose on sleeping pills in a crawl space under her house. Plath was found several days later by her brother and sent to a mental hospital. As Plath states in Chapter 20 of the Bell Jar, there was a bell jar, "with its stifling distortions," constantly hovering over her threatening to lower and enclose her. "To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream."4 From then to her death in 1963, she...