Research Paper on Sylvia Plath

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Biography Part I Sylvia Plath was born on October 27, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts. She lived with her parents Otto Emil Plath and Aurelia Schober Plath and later her brother Warren in the suburbs of Boston (Steinberg). Plath published her first poem at eight years old and was very intelligent. Some would even call her a model daughter because of her straight A’s, popularity in school, and her thrive to be perfect at everything (Gilson). Perfection deceived Plath because it was used to hide her true feelings of depression. These were due to the death of her father in 1940, one week after her eighth birthday (Gilson). Plath pushed forward through the pain and got a scholarship to Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She was very ecstatic to be a ‘Smith Girl’ and tried her best to excel in all of her classes. Plath then moved to New York for a Guest Editorship prize she won in a Mademoiselle contest. While there, Plath began to breakdown and soon had to come home exhausted, emotionally, mentally, and physically. She also came home because she was relying on getting into a Harvard summer class on writing, which she did not receive. Hearing this news broke her even more and she declares not being able to sleep, read, or write, because of it in her novel The Bell Jar (Steinberg). Due to her unhappiness and loss of sleeping, reading, and writing, Plath began to feel suicidal. She nearly killed herself by overdosing on sleeping pills but eventually recovered by having electroshock treatments and psychotherapy (Gilson). Plath excelled more than ever now that the sad days were behind her and she also met her husband, Ted Hughes who was a well known poet as well. Together, they each wrote the best poems of their lifetime and eventually had two children (Steinberg). Plath’s and Hughes’ marriage did not last long because Hughes was caught having an affair with another woman. During this time, Plath wrote many harsh poems about men and expressed her opinions


Cited: Adams, Phoebe-Lou. “Life & Letters: ‘The Bell Jar’.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon Gunton. Volume 17. Detroit, Michigan. Gale Research Company, 1981. 352. Print. Corrigan, Sylvia. “Sylvia Plath: a New Feminist Approach.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon Gunton. Volume 17. Detroit, Michigan. Gale Research Company, 1981. 350-351. Print. Gilson, Bill. "Sylvia Plath." Sylvia Plath Bio. Web. 2 April 2013. Maloff, Saul. “The Poet as Cult Goddess.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon Gunton. Volume 17. Detroit, Michigan. Gale Research Company, 1981. 358. Print. Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. New York: Harper & Row Publishers Inc., 1971. Print. Steinberg, Peter. "Biography." A celebration, this is. Web. 2 Apr 2013. Taubman, Robert. “Anti-heroes.”Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon Gunton. Volume 17. Detroit, Michigan. Gale Research Company, 1981. 345. Print.

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