Analyzing Sylvia Plath's Writing Style through Her Poem, Mirror
Sylvia Plath's unique literary style has been appreciated more and more since her death by suicide in 1963. She has been hailed as a kind of "archangel of confessional poetry" (Drennan 1184), and her poetry has been described as being "at once confessional, lyrical, and symbolic" (Hinkle 920). The styling that has led to the continuity of her art and its relevance to society can be attributed to many factors and techniques common among her poetry and prose, namely her unique uses of rhythm and meter, her prevailing themes of feminist criticism, her use of the technique of "doubling," and her unique approach to characterization. Plath's poem "Mirror" is a work typical of her writing style in these regards. Sylvia Plath's approach to rhythm and meter in her poetry was all her own. Her earlier poems were composed slowly and with great care, while her later poems were written at a greater and increasing speed. The older poems follow, for the most part, a rhythm and meter that is a sort of "finger - count," with each line of each stanza set to a rigid standard of syllables (Wakeman 1144). An example of this is in her poem "Full Fathom Five," where each of the fifteen stanzas follow a scheme of three lines each, the first line having seven syllables, the second having nine syllables, and the third having five (Plath 46 - 48). Her newer poems however, fall into a less rigid set of standards, and are composed of a rhythm and meter that is more of an "ear - count," as Plath would speak the poems as she wrote them "out loud as they came in the urgent and accelerating rhythms of her own voice" (Wakeman 1144). Since Plath would speak these poems in "her own voice" as she wrote them, the poems' rhythm and meter cannot be considered anything less than unique. The poem "Mirror" falls into the category of the newer, less rigid poems composed by Plath. Though the poem is composed of two stanzas, each of nine...
Cited: Drennan, William Ryland. "Sylvia Plath: 1932 - 1963." Popular World Fiction: 1900 - Present. 4 vols. Ed. Walton Beacham and Suzanne Niemeyer. Washington, D. C.: Beacham Publishing, 1987. 1184 - 1190.
Hinkle, Maria B. "Sylvia Plath: 1932 - 1963." Research Guide to Biography and Criticism. 2 vols. Ed. Walton Beacham. Washington, D.C.: Research Publishing, 1985. 918 - 921.
Plath, Sylvia. "Full Fathom Five." The Colossus and Other Poems. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967. 46 - 48.
Plath, Sylvia. "Mirror." Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 6th ed. Ed. Robert DiYanni. New York: McGraw - Hill, 2004. 633.
Wakeman, John. "Sylvia Plath." World Authors: 1950 - 1970. New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, 1975. 1143 - 1145.
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