Mirrors by Sylvia Plath Essay

Mirrors by Sylvia Plath Essay

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13th March, 2014
In the poem “Mirrors”, by Sylvia Plath the speaker accentuates the importance of looks as an aging woman brawls with her inner and outward appearance. Employing an instance of self refection, the speaker shifts to a lake and describes the discrepancies between inevitable old age and zealous youth. By means of sight and personification, shifts and metaphors, the orator initiates the change in appearance which relies on an individual’s decision to embrace and reject it.
The author applies sight and personification to accentuate the mirror’s roles. The declaimer of the poem says “I am silver and exact [and] whatever I see I swallow” (1, 20). The purpose of these devices is to convey the position of the mirror in the poem. As an inanimate object, the mirror is incapable of consuming anything but the appearances of entities. Furthermore, the glass’ role accentuates an inner mirror, the human mirror which does not forget instances of misery and contentment. According to Freedman, the mimicking image emulated by the mirror elicits “… a look for oneself inside” as observed from the life of the elderly woman in the sonnet (153). Moreover, as the woman looks into the lake, she commemorates her appealing and attractive and pleasant figure as a young girl. As time passes, the inevitability of old age knocks on the door of the woman, readily waiting to change the sterling rapturous lady perceived by many. One’s appearance can change; it is up to an individual to embrace it or reject it.
Plath employs a shift to accentuate a change in time. The speaker of the poem says “I am silver and exact/Now I am a lake” (1, 10) to indicate an alteration in time. The purpose of the device is to convey an adjustment in c...


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...worse than before. For instance, old men and women inject their faces to resemble those in their youth, but they worsen their mental and physical state by executing such actions. To conclude, one should embrace her appearance because aging is inevitable.











Works Cited

Freedman, William. “The Monster in Plath’s ‘Mirror’.” Papers on Language & Literature 23.1
(1987): 152-169. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Giles, Richard F. “Sylvia Plath.” Magill’s Critical Survey of poetry. Ed. Frank N. Magill.
Pasadena: Salem Press, 1992. 2592-2602.
Richardson, D. “Plath’s Mirror.” Explicator 49.3 (1991): 192-194. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Tomei, Christine D. “Sylvia Plath.” Great American Writers of the Twentieth Century.
Ed. R. Baird Shuman. New York: Marshall Gavendish Corporation, 2002. 1213-1221

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