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Mirror Sylvia Plath Carol Wolff

Sylvia’s Life:

Sylvia’s Life

Her Life:

Her Life Sylvia was born on October 27, 1932 in Newton, Massachusetts. She married Hughes on June 16, 1956

Her Life:

Her Life Sylvia and Ted had two children Frieda and Nicholas (1960, 1962) 1962 She learned of Ted’s infidelity and they separated. Committed suicide on February 11, 1963 .

Mirror 1st Stanza:

Mirror 1 st Stanza I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. What ever you see I swallow immediately Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful--- The eye of a little god, four-cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

2nd Stanza:

2 nd Stanza Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me, Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully. She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

Writing Style:

Writing Style Written in first person Use of simple sentences Very few adjectives due to use of metaphors Use of Personification

Analysis Stanza I :

Analysis Stanza I Addressed by an inanimate object Sets out to define itself and its function Has no preconceptions because it is without memory or ability to reason. It is omnivorous – swallows everything it confronts without making judgments that might blur, mist, or distort.

Slide 10:

It is god-like in its objectivity and incapability of emotional response. Most of the time it meditates on the opposite wall, faithfully reproducing its colors and design until darkness intrudes or intervenes

Analysis Stanza II:

Analysis Stanza II The mirror becomes a perfectly reflecting lake, unruffled by any disturbance A Woman bends over the lake like the mythical Narcissus. No matter how deeply she searches, she sees only her actuality or surface truth. Unlike Narcissus, the speaker cannot fall in love with what she sees.

Slide 12:

The candles and moon to which the woman turns are liars capable of lending untruthful shadows and romantic highlights – unlike the lake surface/mirror, which renders only faithful images.

Slide 13:

Unhappy by what she sees, she weeps and wrings her hands. The youth and beauty once reflected during her morning visits are drowned in the metaphorical depths of the lake. What slowly emerges from those depths is the terrifying fact that she is aging.

Narcissus (mythology) :

Narcissus (mythology ) In the various stories he is exceptionally cruel, in that he disdains those who love him. As divine punishment he falls in love with a reflection in a pool, not realizing it was his own, and perishes there, not being able to leave the beauty of his own reflection. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_(mythology)


Self-centeredness The mythical Narcissus alienated himself not only from other people but from the nonhuman beings and presences of the natural world. Gazing into a beautiful pond he saw merely his personal reflection and absolutely nothing of nature.

Slide 16:

Without any intention of doing so, the mythical Narcissus provides each of us with a warning.  His eternal self-obsession cautions us against such self-centeredness. We live in a culture that rewards and encourages such selfishness.  Focus on self-interest is encouraged.  Every commercial is a chance to buy a new mirror – an offer of some new way to serve ourselves.  As pilgrims passing through this world, we will walk through the land of Narcissus. We have the chance to be renegades.  The mirrors we use are held to our souls – not to our faces. http://righteousmonster.com/blogs/bodie/august/land-narcissus Carol Wolff

Ponder this Quotation (Ovid 464):

Ponder this Quotation (Ovid 464) “Am I the lover or beloved? Then why make love? Since I am what I long for, then my riches are so great they make me poor.” Publius Ovidius Naso (20 March 43 BCE – 17 or 18 CE), known as Ovid

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