Sorrow in Sylvia Plath's The Day Mr. Prescott Died

Topics: Sylvia Plath, Joyce Carol Oates, Tobacco smoking Pages: 2 (625 words) Published: April 26, 2009
Boying Liu
April 2 2009
Sorrow in “The Day Mr. Prescott Died”
In her short story “The Day Mr. Prescott Died,” Sylvia Plath implies her characters’ sorrow associate with the givens by each character. The story begins with a girl goes to a funeral with her mother, at the beginning, she is an unreliable narrator, she thinks “Mr. Prescott’s going was no sorrow for anybody.” Eventually, she realizes people do feel sorry for his death. Throughout the story, Sylvia Plath describes the different reactions of Mr. Prescott’s death between young generation and old generation. Sylvia Plath associates guitar with character Ben. The narrator does not realize Ben is sad when she first time sees him on the hammock. She is surprised when she sees the guitar is beside him. Later on, she realizes that Ben’s guitar is not only for parties but also could make people cry. “Ben didn’t say much, only sat and played these hillbilly songs very soft, that made you want to laugh and sometimes cry.” However, Ben plays hillbilly songs not sorrowful songs, this is the way Ben represents his feelings. He thinks “like [he doesn’t] feel Pop has really died.” It indicates that Ben could not accept the fact of his dad’s leaving. The given “cigarette” represents Liz’s sorrow. The narrator describes Liz as “who barely said hello to me. She was in shorts and old shirt, smoking one drag after the other.” Throughout the story, Liz barely says anything. The description of her is all about she is smoking. “She was blowing smoke rings. Not a word the whole time. Smoke rings only.” Later on, “Liz was smoking again, so there was a small cloud of haze around her.” Even though she does not cry, we still believe that she is deeply sad for her dad’s death, especially, her dad died in her arms, because cigarette represents annoyance, grief and unhappiness. Sylvia Plath associates handkerchief with Mrs. Mayfair who is Mr. Prescott’s sister. At the beginning of the...
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