Sylvia Plath's "Mirror" offers a unique perspective on the attitudes
of aging. "Mirror" displays tremendous insight and objectivity into
the natural human behavior of growing older. Plath is able to
emphasize the loneliness, hope, despair, and insecurity that awaits us
through mankind's incessant addiction with reflection. "Mirror"
expresses the problems associated with aging through terse comparisons
between reality and desire.
Plathe's strength of "Mirror" lies in its ability to establish a solid
comparison among appearance and human emotions between the first and
second stanzas. At first "Mirror" introduces reflection as a precise
and accurate force through utilizing the first person perspective of a
mirror: "I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I
see I swallow immediately Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful.." (Plathe lines 1-4) This example can
then be viewed symbolically of appearance especially concerning "love
or dislike". In that people never hate nor adore their features but
merely accept that what they see is what defines them. This faith is
reinforced by the quality and type of reflection because it is
originating from a mirror which is suppose to be exact, honest, and
universal for all. Plathe understanding these principles describes the
reflection process by instilling this object with living
characteristics such as thought, sight, and a lifestyle: "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 part of my heartâ?¦Faces and darkness
separate us over and over." (Pl...
... middle of paper ...
... that not only destroys our reflection
but also ones sense of identity, purpose, and confidence.
The critical comparisons found in Sylvia Plath's "mirror" portray a
distinctive attitude towards aging. Through contrasting the two
separate stanzas the messages of desire, reality, individuality, fear,
and insecurity are all demonstrated. Once the essence of Plathe's
attitude is unlocked in "mirror" the emotion behind the writing is
seen as the motivation for a tone that displays intense longing or
weariness towards life. This becomes epitomized throughout Plathe's
presentation as it utilizes age as a catalyst for the deterioration of
the human spirit.
Plath, Sylvia. ?Mirror.? The Language of Literature: American Literature. Eds. Arthur N.
Applebee et al. Evanston: McDougal Littel, 1997. 252.
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