‘Mirror’ By Sylvia Plath – Textual Analysis
‘Mirror’ is one of many works by the American poet Sylvia Plath, which was written within the last few months before her death, along with a number of other poems. One of the greatest qualities of her poems was its versatile nature. Her poems were never restricted to one interpretation. ‘Mirror’ is one such poem, where each reader is free to interpret her art differently. The speaker is not Sylvia Plath, but the mirror itself. As the first line of the poem conveys, a mirror is ‘silver and exact’ and it reflects the image of an object just as it appears. The reflection is unadulterated as the mirror has no “preconceptions”. The ultimate issue that the poem deals with is the search for the self. In order to make this reflection of the self as real and believable to the audience as possible, Sylvia Plath narrates her “soul search” from the perspective of a mirror, through which she can truly see her inner self for what it is. In the first half of the poem, the mirror attempts to establish its credibility to the readers. The mirror claims that whatever it sees, it ‘swallows immediately, just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike’. It is ‘not cruel, only truthful’. When a person forms an opinion about someone, bias inevitably plays a crucial part, and hence the image of that person’s personality created in the mind of the opinionist is the contorted truth. But a mirror lacks the emotion to love or hate the subject it reflects, and so it successfully validates its credibility. The poem then goes on to describe the mirror’s surroundings. The mirror says that most of the time it ‘meditates on the opposite wall’, one that is ‘pink, with speckles’. It says that it has ‘looked at it so long’, that it ‘thinks it is a part of its heart’. Here we can see how Plath has personified the character of the mirror, by attributing human qualities to it such as meditation, sight, attachment, and more significantly throughout the poem,...
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