Sylvia Plath
Born – October 27, 1932 Boston U.S.
Died – February 11, 1963, London England
Famous by the pass name of Victoria Lucas, Sylvia Plath
was a poet, novelist and short story writer.
Notable works –
1) The
collected poems (1981)
2) The Bell
Jar (1963)
3) Winter
Trees (1971)
4) Ariel
Awards –
1) Glascock
Prize (1955)
2) Pulitzer
Prize for poetry (1982)

Mirror – A Melancholic Poem
     Mirror shows a pang to its very kind. As
the poem deals with age and time, there is inevitability of the destruction of
age in the hand of time. Here the woman is in tears as the reflected her lost
youth beauty and above all her approaching end.

Mirror – An Embodiment of Time and Timelessness
     Sylvia Plath has presented here the eternal
state of the mirror and ephemeral state of the woman. The mirror with its
certain tenets will never change where as the woman subject to decay decline
and death will lose her youth and beauty will meet the horns of death.

Mirror – A little God
     Indeed, a true reflection of the facets of
mirror lead us to imagine the Godly characteristics it bears. The mirror is unchangeable,
having no preconceptions, truthful, impartial and a true reflector. These
qualities in real sense are impossible to be found in us, the humans.

Mirror – The woman As Terrible Fish
     By ‘Terrible Fish’ the poetess here
skilfully presented the agony, and pang of the woman who realises her demise. A
fish taken out of water fights to save itself in a futile way. The violent and
wild effort of the fish is similarised with that of the woman. She could not
take her loss of beauty, youth and her feeling of losing her life made her wild
and violent.


     “I am silver and exact. I have no pre conceptions”

poetess starts with the positive tenets of the mirror. The mirror is here
delineated with some paramount virtues unimaginable to humans. The word “exact’
is impossible to us. We cannot achieve the state of ‘exact’ i.e. unchangeable.
The mirror is said to have no pre-conception. The mirror is bereft of the human
obligations of pre-thought. We tend to create an image about a person or things
which bring partial and biased thinking. Whereas the mirror is free from these
shortcomings and reflects flawlessly.
     “Whatever I see I swallow immediately
     Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.”

     The poetess talks about the quality of the
mirror in reflecting everything without any change. It reflects with supreme
delicacy. Like humans it does not get affected by the human limitations like
love or dislike.

Poetic Device in use  – 1) Antithesis – love or dislike

     ” I am not cruel, only truthful
The eye of a little god,
four cornered.”

 Truth is often hated. Often the very truth
makes people feel sore and distressed. The mirror is here truthful and never
misguides you. If we notice carefully, we shall find the virtues endowed to
mirror are beyond the reach humans. The virtues like ‘exact’, “no
preconceptions”, ‘unimisted’, “swallow immediately”, and ‘truthful’ can never
be the tenets of human but these the can relate to ‘God’. Perhaps for this
reason the mirror is described as ‘little god’,

     “Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It
is pink with speckles.”

     The word meditation takes us to more people
those who are conceived as great. The mirror does not falter in her meditation.
She does it spontaneously almost without any break. She looks at the opposite
wall without any pause. The wall is of pink colour and having some spots. Poetic
Device in use –
Alliteration – the time

“I have looked at it so
     I think it is a part of my heart”
     These lines take us to the magic of power gaze.
In power gaze we constantly look at something or any person and establish an
invisible energy circuit between the two. You start to feel each other close
and bearing the same tenets, feelings or emotion. The mirror gasing intently
spontaneously enables it to possess the very characteristics of the wall.

     “………………But it flickers.

     Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
The strong meditation of the mirror is often interrupted. Often faces of people
and the darkness of night separate them.

     “Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me, searching my
reaches for what she really is.”

Now the
mirror is replaced by a lake. Lake has come perhaps to mean that both are
having the same tenets. Only one possible addition can be made i.e. the lake
has the depth. A woman bends over the lake to access her reflections. She is of
the mind to check her true reflection. She expects herself look young and
beautiful. But being truthful the mirror reflects the truth and reflects her
with her lost beauty and youth.

     “Then she turns to those liars, the candles as the
moon I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.”
     As the reflection produced by the lake did
not meet her expectation, she went to check the same to candles and the Moon.
Candles and the moon are defined as liars as they are unable to provide any
exact and true reflection. The candles and the moon provide the shadow or the
dim light which does not affirm what she wanted. So the woman moves back to the
lake and reacts with violent attitude. The woman cries and agitates as she
discovers that she is no more young and beautiful and soon going to meet the
horns of death.
     “I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each
morning it is her face that replaces the darkness”.
     To the woman the mirror is important. The
woman gets only true reflection from the mirror. She often comes and checks her
reflections. Each morning after darkness her face is seen.

“In me she has drowned a
young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day
after like a terrible fish”

     Everything changes but the mirror does not
change. The mirror is the witness of the changing of the woman. The memory of the
woman is drowned (saved in the depth of time) in the mirror and the mirror is
the witness of the woman’s turning into an old woman. The mirror watches the
woman moving towards her end. And this makes the woman uneasy, wild and
uncomfortable like the ‘terrible fish’. A fish taken out of water goes wild to
save itself likewise the woman realising her lost beauty, youth and above all
realising end near behaved like a terrible fish.  
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