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The poet’s early years were spent near the seashore, but her life changed abruptly when her father died in 1940.Some of her most vivid poems, including the well-known “Daddy,” concern her troubled relationship with her authoritarian father and her feelings of betrayal when he died.In one of her journal entries, dated June 20, 1958, she wrote: “It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous positive and despairing negative—whichever is running at the moment dominates my life, floods it.” This is an eloquent description of bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, a very serious illness for which no genuinely effective medications were available during Plath’s lifetime.
Donoghue suggested that “the moral claims enforced by these poems now seem exorbitant,” adding, “The thrill we get from such poems is something we have no good cause to admire in ourselves.” Mc Clanahan felt that Plath’s legacy “is one of pain, fear, and traumatic depression, born of the need to destroy the imagistic materialization of ‘Daddy.’” Nevertheless, the critic concluded, “The horrifying tone of her poetry underscores a depth of feeling that can be attributed to few other poets, and her near-suicidal attempt to communicate a frightening existential vision overshadows the shaky technique of her final poems. Her primitive honesty and emotionalism are her strength.” Critics and scholars have continued to write about Plath, and her relationship with Hughes; a reviewer for the a “testing ground” for Plath’s poems.
It is, according to the critic, “one of the few American novels to treat adolescence from a mature point of view. It chronicles a nervous breakdown and consequent professional therapy in non-clinical language.
In the ensuing years her work attracted the attention of a multitude of readers, who saw in her singular verse an attempt to catalogue despair, violent emotion, and obsession with death.
In the Joyce Carol Oates described Plath as “one of the most celebrated and controversial of postwar poets writing in English.” Intensely autobiographical, Plath’s poems explore her own mental anguish, her troubled marriage to fellow poet Ted Hughes, her unresolved conflicts with her parents, and her own vision of herself.
She attended Smith College on scholarship and continued to excel, winning a fiction contest one year and garnering a prestigious guest editorship of the magazine the following summer.
It was during her undergraduate years that Plath began to suffer the symptoms of severe depression that would ultimately lead to her death.My own impression of the circumstances surrounding her eventual death is that she gambled, not much caring whether she won or lost; and she lost.” As a very young poet Plath experimented with the villanelle and other forms. She has been linked with Lowell and Sexton as a member of the so-called “confessional” school of poetry.Ted Hughes noted that she shared with them a similar geographical homeland as well as “the central experience of a shattering of the self, and the labour of fitting it together again or finding a new one.” At times, Plath was able to overcome the “tension between the perceiver and the thing-in-itself by literally becoming the thing-in-itself,” wrote Newman.“In many instances, it is nature who personifies her.” Similarly, Plath used history “to explain herself,” writing about the Nazi concentration camps as though she had been imprisoned there.She said, “I think that personal experience shouldn’t be a kind of shut box and mirror-looking narcissistic experience.All the violence in her work returns to that violence of imagination, a frenzied brilliance and conviction.” Denis Donoghue made a similar observation, also in the “Plath’s early poems, many of them, offered themselves for sacrifice, transmuting agony, ‘heart’s waste,’ into gestures and styles.” Donoghue added that “she showed what self-absorption makes possible in art, and the price that must be paid for it, in the art as clearly as in the death.” essayist Thomas Mc Clanahan wrote, “At her most articulate, meditating on the nature of poetic inspiration, [Plath] is a controlled voice for cynicism, plainly delineating the boundaries of hope and reality.At her brutal best—and Plath is a brutal poet—she taps a source of power that transforms her poetic voice into a raving avenger of womanhood and innocence.” Born in 1932 in Boston, Plath was the daughter of a German immigrant college professor, Otto Plath, and one of his students, Aurelia Schober.On the web site, Margaret Rees observed, “Whether Plath wrote about nature, or about the social restrictions on individuals, she stripped away the polite veneer.She let her writing express elemental forces and primeval fears.Some critics lauded her as a confessional poet whose work “spoke the hectic, uncontrolled things our conscience needed, or thought it needed,” to quote Donoghue. In a curious way, the poems read as though they were written posthumously.” Robert Penn Warren called “a unique book, it scarcely seems a book at all, rather a keen, cold gust of reality as though somebody had knocked out a window pane on a brilliant night.” George Steiner wrote, “It is fair to say that no group of poems since Dylan Thomas’s Reference to Sylvia Plath is constant where poetry and the conditions of its present existence are discussed.” Plath’s growing posthumous reputation inspired younger poets to write as she did.Largely on the strength of compiled and published by Hughes, Plath made “poetry and death inseparable. But, as Steiner maintained, her “desperate integrity” cannot be imitated.