This line is from Sylvia Plath's poem "Lady Lazarus", one of many that helped make her an icon of modern American poetry. They have an eerie, prophetic quality, seeming to foreshadow the tragic death of this young writer. Understanding Sylvia Plath's words require a closer look at both her life and a few of her works. Though critics have described her writing as "governed by negative vitalism", her distinct individuality has made her a conversation piece among those familiar with her. (Pollitt 338) However, it is not "negative vitalism" that controls her writing, but simply her approach to dealing with her feelings. She writes from her experiences, she writes from her soul. Sylvia Plath's poems reflect the torrential reality of her life and weave together the multiplicity of her emotions.
Born in Boston on October 27, 1932 to Otto and Aurelia Plath, Sylvia had a pleasant start in life. She grew up in Winthrop, a seaside town outside of Boston, with her younger brother, Warren. When she was eight years old, her father died as a result of pulmonary embolism following an injury complicated by diabetes. His death had such an impact on her that she eventually became obsessed with dying and wrote many pieces on the subject. In her works, he became a Nazi, a devil, and a demon lover, calling her to the grave. In school, Sylvia proved to be an outstanding writer, winning numerous awards. In 1950, entering college, her first short story, "And Summer Will Not Come Again" was published in Seventeen magazine. She attended Smith College with a double scholarship from Wellesly Smith Club and a private fund endowed by Olive Higgins Prouty. In 1952 she won a guest editorship in Mademoiselle's College Board Co...
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