Sylvia Plath: an American Poet

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 15
  • Published: April 23, 2013
Read full document
Text Preview
Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer. She was born in Boston Massachusetts on October 27th 1932. She struggled deeply with depression much of her adult life, stemming from the death of her father at age eight. Aside from her depression, Sylvia excelled academically at Smith College, and because of that went on to receive a Fulbright scholarship to the highly competitive Newham College in Cambridge. She continued actively writing poetry and publishing her work in the student newspaper Varsity. While at Newham College, Sylvia’s struggle with depression truly began. During the summer of her third year, Plath was awarded a coveted position as guest editor at Mademoiselle Magazine, during which she spent a month in New York City. The experience was not what she had hoped it would be, and it began a downward spiral. A few weeks later she was to slash her legs to see if she had enough courage to commit suicide. Following electro conclusive therapy for depression, Plath made her first medically documented suicide attempt in late August of 1953 by crawling under her house and taking her mother’s sleeping pills. She would spend the next 6 months in psychiatric care. Plath seemed to make a good recovery and returned to college and graduated with the highest honors. After graduating, Sylvia would go on to travel to London and get inspiration for her poems. While in London, she met her husband Ted Hughes. The two wound up marrying in London in 1956 and after a year; decided to return to Boston, where Sylvia returned to her alma mater to begin teaching. Feeling the burden of not having enough time to write, she decided to leave Smith College not long after arriving and focused strictly on her writing. In October 1962, Plath experienced a burst of creativity and wrote most of her poems on which her reputation now rests. It was the same year that Sylvia found out her husband was carrying on an affair with a tenant in the flat in which they lived. The couple separated not long after and her depression became much more severe. Sadly, she finally succeeded in her suicide attempts, ending her life by placing her head in the oven and leaving the gas running. She was thirty three years old and left behind two small children. Fortunately, before her death, the world got to get a glimpse into what Plath was feeling emotionally and what could have been the basis for the depression she suffered through in her lifetime. This would start with the poem Daddy, and it would give an in depth look into the resentment she felt towards her father. The poem brings to light the tumultuous and complex relationship between a father and daughter. It is these two elements, tumultuous, and complex, along with the experiences the character had with the father during the childhood, which shapes the outcome of the characters life. The character in this story, which the reader knows is Sylvia Plath, she never actually stated that the character was her in the story, is affected by the way she feels she was made to feel by her father. Set in the mind of Plath, Daddy is the story of a child who gets her revenge, claiming that she's killed both her father and the man she made as a model of her father – her husband. This poem shows her struggle to declare that, no matter how terrible her father was and how much he remains in her mind; she is now through with him. The tone in the final line of the poem when the author states “Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through” (Plath 80). This solidifies what she wanted her father to know all along, but never had the courage to actually speak these words to him. Plath wrote two other well-known poems one of them being titled The Colossus. The poem is notoriously full of abstruse and complicated imagery, which leave it open to myriad interpretations, although most of them center somewhat on her father. The title and subject of the poem allude to the ancient Greek idea of the colossus, which was a...
tracking img