Lady Lazarus and Stings
Sylvia Plath's works are known for their extremes. Much of the influence of her poems came from the males in her life that had the most effect on her; her father, Otto Plath and Ted Hughes, who she married and later it fell apart when Ted began having an affair. The effects of these men on her were mostly negative, making her poems to have loathing and suffering.
Otto Plath published a book about bees early in Sylvia's life, and he kept bees, which was an n activity later carried on by his daughter. Sylvia wrote a poem about bees called "Stings." Otto had a form of diabetes, and he refused any kind of medical treatment, therefor leading to his death. Sylvia followed his example and it is shown in "Tulips" and "Daddy". The fact that she devoted an entire poem to her father, and the hurt and pain that was caused by him, shows how intensely she felt about him.
"Her father's death left her not only with a hoard of unresolved grief, but it also left her defenseless against her mother's unintended vampirish harm. She had only her mother to rely on until she began a second symbiotic relationship with Ted Hughes. Plath's depressions and rages, her restlessness and feeling of entrapment seem appropriate reactions, at least to a degree, to her family situation."
Plath tries to get back to her father by dying, but they "stick her back together with glue." Many critics have viewed Sylvia as a victim. One has called her "St. Sylvia, the high priestess of suffering."
Her marriage to Ted left her feeling unfulfilled. While being his wife and mother to their children, she found little time to write ).
By this time writing had become a part of who she was. Plath's life was a justification for her poetry. Her anger and resentment is acceptable and intriguing because of what she has lived through and dealt with.
In "Lady Lazarus" Plath described her attempts but failures at suicide, while Lazarus was raised from an unwanted death. This poem is similar to her novel, "The Bell Jar." It shows how Plath learned to handle her materials. She mocks the world at how oblivious they are to the significance of her experience and herself as an agent, selling herself to the world whose people are interested in the sensationalism of her dying.
Plath has published books about her and many have written about her life. The unabridged journals of Plath will shed some new light onto Sylvia's life. "We are closer than ever to knowing the real identity of this disappointed wife and bereaved daughter, this suicidal mother of two, this poet of electrically charged perceptions and amplified imagination.
Another author feels that the memories of Plath have worn thin. She feels that in order to understand Plath you must read her work and the "true meaningful record of this poet is near at hand-in her writings. It is there that Sylvia Plath-harsh, brilliant, astonishing-may be found."
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