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Mirror by sylvia plath

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Bethany Lima

on 25 March 2014

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Transcript of Mirror by sylvia plath

Shifts
Mirror by sylvia plath
Poem
Summary/Paraphrase
Speaker
Figurative Language
Metaphor- Line 10 says "Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is." This shows no matter how deeply she searches, she can only see the surface truth.
Simile- Plath uses the line " like a terrible fish" in comparing the aging women's reflection that she sees in the mirror.
Personification- Plath refers to the mirror in the poem as "the eye of a little god" because it always shows the truth.

About the author
She was an American poet, novelist and short story writer.
She was born in Boston, Massachusetts on October 27, 1932
Her first poem was published at age 8
Married fellow poet Ted Hughes and had 2 children together
She struggled with depression for many years of her life
She committed suicide at age 30 on February 11, 1963
The first stanza describes the mirror, which seems to be like one of those people who doesn't tell white lies – it's truthful and exact, but not cruel. As the first stanza personifies the mirror, showing us some of its human characteristics, we also find out a little about the mirror's life. Most of the time, it reflects a pink speckled wall, which could be found in any bathroom, but it also sees a lot of faces, and a lot of darkness.

In the second stanza, things changed. Instead of being an actual mirror, it shows itself as a lake, which also shows reflections. And we get to see a whole new character: a woman. We saw faces in the first stanza, but now we focus on one face in particular.

A woman is looking at herslef, and we find out she isn't very happy with her reflection in the lake, so she tries to find a kinder reflection under the light of a candle or the moon. When the lake reflects her faithfully anyway, she cries and gets upset.

In the last two lines of this poem, we see why this woman is so upset: in her watery reflection, her past is drowning, and a horrible future is rising to meet her.
Theme
The only other character in "Mirror" is a woman. While the speaker makes no explicit statement about what it means to be female, this poem looks at what is important to a female character from the point of view of a speaker claiming to be unbiased. The speaker reveals a woman concerned about her appearance and aging and is just really insecure about herself
The speaker in this story is a mirror itself talking to all the woman who look in it and are insecure about themselves
Background
Sylvia Plath had suffered from depression for most of her adult life. She was very unhappy with her appearance and very insecure about herself, as well as her marriage. She constantly thought her husband was cheating, which pushed him to eventually cheat on her. At age30, Plaths depression got the best of her nd she committed suicide.
The shifts in this poem are it starts off passive and ambivalent but becomes a bit more scornful of the woman by the end. It even says it doesn't judge, it just hangs there and allows her to look at herself everyday. But at the end, it uses language to describe the subject with some negativity.
Sylvia Plath
Full transcript