Mirror: Sylvia Plath

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Mirror – Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath is the author of the poem “Mirror”, written in the early 1960s. Plath had a history of severe depression due to her father's death when she was a child and her failed attempts of suicide throughout her life. Many of her poems reflect her emotions, whether they are sad, angry or depressing, and “Mirror” is one of those poems. “Mirror” deals with the topic of a woman's self-consciousness and her vanity in a way that is unusual, yet very effective to the reader. Part of the unusual aspect of this poem is that the entire piece is written from the perspective of the mirror. This is just one example of the personification used in “Mirror”. Another example is “The eye of a little god” which contains the woman's vanity in the way that it is almost a self-worshipping and the fact that the mirror is a very powerful item. This one line depicts the woman's view of what the mirror is to her and her image. The mirror is given many different actions throughout the poem. For example, “I meditate on the opposite wall” and “I have looked at it so long” both describe the mirror performing very human actions and this gives the mirror a personality. The impact on the reader is one of interest and curiosity and this continues throughout “Mirror” when the theme of personification is explored even further. The mirror is claimed to be “exact” and “truthful” in this piece. There is a word in almost every line that continues this theme until the reader gets to line 14: “She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands”. There are a few interesting techniques used in this to make the reader question the truthfulness of the mirror. For example it is an oxymoron as tears are usually regarded as a bad thing and to be rewarded is usually something good. Just those five words make the reader think that the mirror could potentially have emotions, and a dark side. The impact on the reader at this point is huge as the mirror's personality is not only one of...
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