Sylvia Plath's Poetry Is Dark and Disturbing

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  • Topic: Sylvia Plath, Poetry, Ted Hughes
  • Pages : 3 (973 words )
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  • Published : April 20, 2013
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From studying the unique poetry of Plath, I found it intense, deeply personal and somewhat disturbing as she wrote about the horrors of depression with ruthless honesty. Her poetry is personal in that she talks about a taboo subject that wasn't acknowledged during her lifetime and in a way it made her poems brilliantly intense. This can be seen most clearly in ‘Child’, ‘Elm’, ‘Poppies in July’ and also ‘Mirror’.

‘Elm’s’ tone is insanely intense, dark and plain miserable and this makes the reader feel immensely disturbed. It is clear from reading Plath’s work that she was in a dark hole, willing to escape. ‘Elm’ finished with the disturbing line “That kill, that kill, that kill”. We can see through her callous honesty and the unsettling atmosphere that she is tormented when she says “Till your head is a stone, your pillow a little turf”. Here, she is using an image of a grave and this sense of mortality is extremely personal, many poets wouldn't write about such agitated thoughts. Her startling honesty is seen when she says “I am terrified by this dark thing”. Plath is afraid, she is desperate and she is reaching out to her readers, begging for help. Her use of words in ‘Elm’ is also interesting. “Faults” could be emotional and/or physical and this shows the psychological states explored throughout Sylvia Plath’s work. “Malignity” symbolizes evil and the intensity of how disturbed her life was.

Another poem that describes the intense and disturbing life of Plath in a deeply disturbing and personal way is ‘Poppies in July’. This poem was written just after the break-up of the marriage to the love of her life Ted Hughes. In the unsettled atmosphere, it is evident that Plath is permeated with heartbreak and depression. Her anger is displayed through the disturbing use of the colour red, also symbolising danger. Poppies are usually a magnificent image of happiness and nature, but in Plath’s poem we can see through her dubious and appalling honesty that even the...
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