Sylvia Plath - Memories

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Sylvia Plath was a successful writer of confessional poetry, who was known for taking her experiences from her past to add to her work. She adds her personal memories and her own experiences to enhance her writing and gives that personal feel and opens the content up to deep speculation and understanding. Through her writing we can analyse her mental state, her feelings, as well as applying different understandings to each poem. She draws to light the concept of memory, how it shapes what we become, it is the past we use to forge our future. In her poem ‘The Stones’ we are presented with an abrupt and startling image. Upon first reading the poem, it seems very confusing, not making any sense, but on closer inspection and with some background knowledge on Sylvia Plath, we can glean meaning in the poem. It quickly becomes obvious what Plath is intending to convey, she talks about her time in the mental institute. After her first suicide attempt she is admitted to a psychiatric ward, where she was subjected to electro and insulin shock therapy. The poem reflects on her spiral down into depression, “When I fell out of the light”, and how she stopped caring about anything, “I entered the stomach of indifference”. “I became a still pebble”, she became dead on the inside, going about her daily business with no enthusiasm or vigour. The poem describes the first suicide attempt, where Plath crawled under the house after overdosing on medication. “The headstone quiet, jostled by nothing. Only the mouth-hole piped out, importunate cricket in a quarry of silences. The people of the city heard it.” She explains here that everybody was looking for her; nobody could find her until they heard her start to moan. She longed for death but couldn’t escape. In the following stanzas she goes on to describe her treatment while in the psychiatric ward. One of the methods of ‘fixing’ depression back then was electro-convulsive therapy. Plath makes a direct reference to that treatment...
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