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Mirror by Sylvia Plath - Essay Example

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Summary
Her poetry often sounds very simple on the surface but contains a wealth of material buried in the imagery and constructions of her poems. One of the common themes in…
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Mirror by Sylvia Plath

Download file to see previous pages... On its surface, Plath’s poem seems to be simply about a mirror and the woman who continues to look into it day after day. The story of the mirror is told from the perspective of the mirror itself as it stands nonjudgmental in the corner of a room and looking endlessly at the far wall, which is “pink, with speckles” (7). The mirror presents itself as nonjudgmental, but there are hints throughout the poem that it does judge those who look into it by the way in which they judge themselves. The second stanza of the poem allows the mirror to transform itself into a lake where (presumably) the same woman peeks in to search her reflection. In this stanza, time speeds up, first taking on human dimensions and then speeding into “each morning” (16) and finally counting down “day after day” (18) as the young girl becomes an old woman.
The poem seems to capture the sense of time as it is experienced in a lifetime. In childhood, time is meaningless, it stands still and goes nowhere, like the mirror placidly sitting in the room and contemplating the pink wall. “I have looked at it so long / I think it is a part of my heart” (7-8) just like the child is a child for all of its experience and often thinks it will remain so. However, the wall, like childhood, “flickers. / Faces and darkness separate us over and over” (8-9) as the child begins to grow into a young woman. The second stanza makes this point much clearer as the young woman continues to look into the mirror for signs of the lost child and finds instead evidence of the aging woman. “She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands” (13) when she looks for a fairer reflection such as what is seen by the romantic light of candles or the moon, yet she cannot deny the call of the reflection as she returns every day. Through this behavior, the mirror sees that she has “drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
This progression is very much like the passage of time in William ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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