Mirror by Sylvia Plath, Analysis

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Mirror by Sylvia Plath, Analysis

By | Feb. 2011
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The use of Personification and Metaphor in ‘Mirror’

In the Poem ‘Mirror’ by Sylvia Plath, there is a continuing theme of change. In the beginning the changes are simple, like the acts of day turning to night, but at the end we see the life changes of a woman in particular. Through the use of metaphor and personification in the poem, Plath creates images of water, reflections, and colors as having human characteristics to emphasize the strong theme of change throughout the poem. From the beginning of the poem, we see that it revolves around water. We find out that the mirror is "unmisted" and "swallows" everything. We see that by the end of the poem, a girl is drowning and a fish is rising to take over her. In the poem water is both a reflecting surface and an actual lake. So, water, in this poem, is both clear and mysterious. In line 2 the word "swallow" is used as a metaphor for reflecting. The word makes us think of water, which can itself swallow things, taking them beneath its surface. In lines 10-11 we find out that the mirror is a lake, shifting from the silver of a mirror to the silver of clear water. After that we see that a woman is searching the reaches of the water for who she really is. Later on in line 14, the tears of the woman are another form of water, and she is physically interacting with the water of the lake by stirring it up in her hands. In lines 17-18 the young girl is drowning, and the old woman is rising. It seems most likely that the water is a metaphor for time, or aging. (Shmoop Editorial Team) From silver to pink to moonlight, this poem uses colors and light to give the reader images as they read about a mirror. In line 1 the color gives the major clue that the speaker is not a person, but a personified mirror. Since this is the first line, we think of the color silver throughout the poem whenever we think of the mirror. In lines 7-8 the mirror is silver, but now we get the image of the pink wall, that the mirror most often...