Reading the Poetry of Sylvia Plath Can Be a Disturbing Experience

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I agree with the above statement as for me reading Plath's poetry was quite disturbing. The best poems to explain this experience are “Black Rook in Rainy Weather,” “Finisterre,” “Morning Song,” “Child” and of course, “Poppies in July”. There are poems that aren’t quite as depressing, such as “Pheasant”, but certainly an unsettled atmosphere dominates throughout Plath’s work.

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The theme explored in “Black Rook in Rainy Weather” is the lack of inspiration and the depression that arises therefore. Plath is in a state of desperation, she describes her life as a “season of fatigue” (part of the poems psychic landscape) with “brief respites from fear of total neutrality.” Her life is empty as she perceives it, to the extent that the most banal things may serve inspiration to her tormented mind: “A minor light may still lean incandescent out of kitchen table or chair as if a celestial burning took possession of the most obtuse objects now and then…” It is comforting to realise that Plath is able to find inspiration in this, but the poem is simply permeated with her pain and fear of losing all motivation: everything is black, it is raining and the background setting seems dull. It is a fairly routine situation in which most people have probably found themselves at some stage. Therefore, it is likely to that readers can relate to it, but its only effect could be to provoke bad memories and make one feel uncomfortable. It is crucial that the reader attempts to exclude the thoughts of her tragic death and almost permanent state of severe depression when reading her work in order to give it a chance. However, it seems to just stare at you from the page. Also knowing that, all her work acquires a sinister context, which is indeed disturbing: if a person to bright and talented couldn't find a solution to her inner problems – what about the rest of us?

“Finisterre” is an imaginative masterpiece. But the themes that feature in it are very important too. Sylvia...
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