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"Mirror" -Sylvia Plath

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Hanna Samawi

on 9 April 2014

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Transcript of "Mirror" -Sylvia Plath

-Sylvia Plath

Literary Devices
"I think it is part of my heart"
The personification of the mirror shows the power that is has by taking on human characteristics. The mirror can swallow the woman and tells her the truth about herself.
"In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman rises toward her day after day."
This is a metaphor for the youth she has drowned and every day she continues to grow older and mature. As well as she has wasted her life in the mirror.
"The eye of the little god"
The mirror places itself on the same level as a god. This reveals the power the mirror has and how the woman sees herself in the mirror determines how she is and tries to create a false image of herself in the mirror.
"She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands."
Through imagery the poet reveals that the woman is upset with what she sees in the mirror. She has tried to create who she is in her beauty but it doesn't reveal who she is within. As she has grown older and lost her youth and beauty she has lost her worth because only what she saw in the mirror has meant anything to her.
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-
The eye of the little god, four cornered.
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 a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.
This poem is a dramatic monologue written in free verse.
The narrator of the poem is a mirror that is personified, situated in a woman's room.
The poem is about a woman that is aging and grasping how her beauty is fading. But also the internal battle between the woman's true self and who she has become.
Formal structure.
Setting is used to demonstrate a mirror in its various forms, in this case, a lake.
This poem is very straightforward and concise, representing the "straightforward" concept of a mirror.
This poem relies heavily on personification. Words such as "swallow," "meditate," and "looked" make the mirror really come alive.
The intended audience of this poem is other women like the woman who looks in the mirror.
The poem evokes a sense of self-image in the reader.
Personally, we feel that there is no distance from the poem and our cultural views. Females may tend to relate to this poem more than males due to the content.
Truthfulness, self-image, and self-actualization are prevalent in this poem.
The inner battle between who the woman is and what is expected of her.
The song relies heavily on rhetorical question to reveal the emotional turmoil that Mulan goes through.
Its intended audience is other women that feel like Mulan.
This song makes the listener reflect on how they view themselves in contrast to how society views them.
This song is relatable outside of a Disney movie because of the pressure that many young people feel from society and their families.
Self-actualization, idea of perfection, and outward acceptance are prevalent in this song.
Literary Devices
"I 'm not meant to play this part."
Through the use of metaphor, Mulan shows that she is not meant to be a bride and live the life that the world has laid out for her.
Rhetorical Questions
"Why is my reflection someone I don't know?"
By using rhetorical questions, Mulan reveals how whn she looks into the mirror it does not represent the person that is truly her. She feels the huge gap between who she sees as herself and who other people see when they look at her.
"Look at me I will never pass for a perfect bride or a perfect daughter."
Mulan realizes that she will never be what her family expects. She is not the perfect image of a bride.
by Sylvia Plath and "Reflection" from
the idea of not seeing the true image of yourself, is reflected through the use of uncertain metaphor, stirring rhetorical question, and somber imagery.
Multiple Choice
1. Which of the following literary devices are used in Sylvia Plath's "Mirror?"
I. Metaphor
II. Alliteration
III. Simile
A. I only
B. II only
C. I & III only
D. I, II, & III

2. What is the tone of the poem?
A. Elated
B. Depressing
C. Matter-of-fact
D. Resigned

3. What device does Plath use to make her poem "riddle" like?
A. Repetition
B. Metaphor
C. Symbolism
D. Synecdoche
Full transcript