"Mirror" by Sylvia Plath

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Joshua Huling
“Mirror”

“Mirror” is a poem by Sylvia Plath. It is spoken in a first person style from the perspective of a mirror, and later a lake. A woman has been looking into both the mirror and the lake at her own reflection. She seems to be almost consumed with the reflection and later in life she is upset by what she sees, as she is ageing. The poem is rife with figurative language. After analyzing the poem, we find that the mirror is truth, indifferent to the woman’s ageing or what she wishes to believe. It is through this truth that it holds a certain power over her. She tries to deny it, but in the end the mirror, and thus the truth, consume her.

The personified mirror, lake or reflections in general in the poem are symbolic of truth. Truth is a powerful element in the poem. When you look into a mirror you only see what is there, not what you wish were there. The phrase “whatever I see I swallow immediately”(1) supports this. If a person has flaws, a mirror will be straightforward will not hesitate to show them. The phrase “I am silver and exact, I have no preconceptions”(2) shows us that the mirror is not capable of showing anything but what is put in front of it. The mirror does not have a preference. “I am not cruel, only truthful”(3) further supports this and reveals the mirrors character and personality. The mirror does not judge but only reveals and lets the woman judge for herself. The fact that the woman interprets her appearance in an unfavorable manner highlights an internal conflict going on within the woman. She is obsessed with her appearance and how she is perceived. The statement by the mirror, “the eye of a little god, four-cornered”(4) emphasizes the almost god like power that the mirror has over the woman. She looks to it for comfort only to be confronted by truth. Her youth has been wasted away by this reflection.

Although the mirror reveals the reality of the situation, the woman still clings to things that blind her from...
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