A Birthday Present By Sylvia Plath Analysis

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In our society, death can bring about emotions of sadness, regret, guilt, or even relief. Reactions to the loss of a person in one’s life often vary on how the deceased is lost. Death from suicide causes a set of emotions that are different than a death from an ailment such as cancer. The suicide of Sylvia Plath has been deemed one of the most shocking losses in literary history because of its suddenness and because of who were left behind. People of all statuses and locations have provided their reactions to Plath’s death. These reactions ranged from death threats to Ted Hughes, the man accused of driving Sylvia Plath to her suicide, to making movies celebrating her courage in facing death on her own terms. These reactions tend to lean on …show more content…
This book of poetry contains poems on a variety of subjects from the grief of losing her father, her deteriorating relationship with her husband, and her struggle to continue her existence. “A Birthday Present” is a poem that has been widely analyzed as it provides a straightforward telling of Plath’s desire for death. In “A Birthday Present”, Plath describes what she truly wishes for on her birthday a year after her most recent suicide attempt. The poem describes her wanting her birthday present to be death. She states, “If it were death/ I would admire the deep gravity of it,/its timeless eyes./I would know you were serious./There would be a nobility than, there would be a birthday.” (Ariel, 1963) Plath associates death with freedom. She believes that with her death, she will be at peace and have the “universe slide from my side”. When speaking of death in this poem, you can understand a sense of grief Plath has with her desire of death, with the language she uses. However, in addition to this grief she feels, she also expects freedom to come from death. This “freedom from death” narrative contrasts with the poems written by those who knew

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