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Mirror by Sylvia Plath

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Sabrina Lee

on 26 February 2013

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Transcript of Mirror by Sylvia Plath

Mirror by Sylvia Plath Poetry Presentation AP essay prompt The theme of identity Tone Imagery The theme of mortality Rhyme, form and meter Critical perspective #1 Prompt: Read the following poem carefully. Then write a well-organized essay in which you discuss how literary devices such as point of view and tone reveal the speaker’s attitude about finding one’s self. The woman seeks “what she really is” but she cannot accept what is “faithfully” reflected in its depths and she returns morning after morning, hoping for better results. She prefers to delude herself with the more flattering representations provided by candlelight and moonlight. In the first stanza, the apparently objective diction indicates a neutral tone, which becomes reminiscent and nostalgic. Then a shift occurs into the second stanza, in which the tone is largely exasperated, despairing, dismal, distressed, pessimistic, and mournful. -Written in free verse, open structure, with no set pattern of rhythm or rhyme
-However, Plath uses slant rhymes such as "darkness" and "fish"
-Also incorporates repetition: "day after day" and "over and over" -Mostly visual (hmmm)
-Emphasis on visual imagery reiterates the motif of vanity and the woman's absorption in her appearance
-The woman ages every day and the mirror reflects this, but the mirror itself doesn't change
-The woman clearly fears aging
-She is disturbed by her old age and reacts to her reflection with "tears and an agitation of hands" -Although she bends over the lake in the manner of Narcissus, the woman does not fall in love with her own image as he did; rather, she is filled with self-loathing at what she sees
-She apparently accepts gender roles and the stereotypes that her culture created Critical perspective #2 She is the woman as male-defined ideal or as the ideal manqué, the woman who desires to remain forever the "young girl" and who "turns to those liars, the candles or the moon" for confirmation of the man-pleasing myth of perpetual youth, docility, and sexual allure In “Mirror”, Sylvia Plath executes various forms of literary devices, such as symbolism, to highlight the fleetingness of time and consequently, the speaker’s attitude toward truthfulness.
Thesis statement
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