One of the many literary devices Plath utilizes in the poem is the reoccurring use of personification to a mirror. The entire poem is told in the perspective of a mirror and what is has been like for this mirror to watch a woman age. The mirror is personified by saying it swallows what it sees, meaning that it takes everything in because mirrors reflect all the things surrounding them.
The mirror is again personified because it is given the feeling of not loving or disliking something. This line effectively demonstrates how the mirrors personality is untainted by looks or pre judgments. This quality of the mirror should be greatly appreciated by the woman of the poem because as we go on to read, the mirror only sees the woman superficially, whether that is good or bad, the mirror passes no judgment, it only sees what is right in front of it.
Take movie stars for example, the hours and hours that go into hair, make up, or outfit choice. In the end, they are all either glorified or scrutinized by the general public based on his or her appearance. Plath gives the mirror a characteristic of loyalty to the woman it reflects. One may argue that although the mirror is said to be faithful, how is it a reliable confidante for the woman if it offers no advice when she searches the mirror for who she has become on the inside. From another standpoint however, this allows for individual soul searching and forces the woman to come to conclusions on her own.
The usage of figurative language in the poem demonstrates how false deceptions are created and growing old is rejected. The metaphor of a lake is perfect for defining the truth and lies of aging. A lake has many different levels. The surface of a lake it what is seen initially. What is not initially seen of a lake is the depth to the very bottom. The bottom of a lake is cold and dark.
Just like a lake, a mirror only exhibits what is on the surface. This use of figurative language of the poem addresses how growing old can be disguised for some time. The light that surrounds both candles and the moon is typically either dim or completely dark. Shedding light upon a subject means to shed light upon the truth and to see everything for what it truly is.
Women especially seem to fear growing old. In order to counteract any signs of aging, many women turn to anti aging creams, or even the occasional or not so occasional in some cases Botox injection. The straightforward honesty in her writing should be appreciated for the truth that it holds. A third example of figurative language found in the poem is a simile starting in line The poem ending with the simile of comparing the woman to a fish does a fantastic job of tying in to the metaphor that the mirror is a lake.
When comparing the woman to a fish, it could be thought of as both amusing and a bit depressing. Fish, to some, are creatures that are gruesome and slimy. It seems humorous, and a slightly over dramatic, to compare a fish to a human being. However, the comparison is also somewhat depressing because it comes across that the woman thinks she resembles an ugly fish in her old age. The figurative language of the poem is clear in describing the many truths and lies in the battle with aging.
Word choice can make a big impact on the way a piece of literature can move, or not move, a reader. The poem Mirror has many examples of diction that stress the anxiety the elderly woman feels in aging, which is a feeling many women can relate to. The word unmisted sticks out because this concept relates back to the idea of the dealing with the truths and lies of aging. The mirror is one of the only things that does neither convey the truth of her aging and personality, nor criticize the woman for her outward appearance or her inner personality.
However, it seems to just stare at you from the page. Also knowing that, all her work acquires a sinister context, which is indeed disturbing: Almost all of these are destructively negative, which makes her poetry disturbing. She callously rejects hope, cruelly picks out the worst aspects in everything, her soul aches is fear of loss of those rare transient moments of inspiration that kept her alive.
For more essays like this, see: Sylvia Plath Sample Essay: It is extremely kind of you to publish your hard made notes for the use of others but i greatly appreciate it.
Im sitting my mock tomorrow and suspect that plath will be appearing , This has been a wonderful help. Funny… i'm sitting my mock tomorrow too!
These really are excellent notes though. I can see how you got such high points. Thank you so much it's been a great help! Can't thank you enough for being so generous!! But the themes that feature in it are very important too.
Sylvia Plath is emphasising the failure of organised religion and therefore rejects the beneficial qualities of the hope that religion normally provides. The poet describes a grand statue of Our Lady of the Shipwrecked to whom a sailor is praying and also a peasant who came to pray.
What is one left with after one loses hope? Some other poets known for their gloomy outlook, like T. Eliot who also submerges the readers in the bleakness of reality, offered us hope in religion, but Plath failed to find refuge even in that. She does, however, attempt to provide an alternative. This may seem to come as a solution, but to me personally this conveys an even worse disturbance- running from the truth because it is so intolerable. Everything described here is nothing, dead, or about to die, just like those seemingly doomed flowers at the edge of the cliff.
This poem kills any hope in the reader and, therefore, I believe it is very disturbing. There are elements of joy in it, but even the arrival of a baby is full of negative emotions for the poet.
The museum is drafty.
Sylvia Plath Homework Help Questions What are the figures of speech used in the poem "The Mirror" by Silvia Plath?In detail please! A figure of speech in poetry is also known .
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