Mental Illness In Sylvia Plath's Ariel Poetry

Circle the Drain: The Effect of Mental Illness on Sylvia Plath’s Ariel Poems
Sylvia Plath’s death was one of the most famous in literary history. Her chilling suicide added immeasurable weight to the work she left behind. The Bell Jar and Ariel and Other Poems gave the public a personal look inside the mind of their creator. Her Ariel poems are her suicide note. All her insecurities, fears, and experiences laid out in these poems. The writing of Ariel was Plath’s life flashing before her eyes. She wrote it down and dissected each element of her life.
Due to the nature of her death, Plath indulged in self harm and eventually committed suicide. These themes of agony and death are tightly woven throughout her poems. It has been said it is “impossible to discuss her work, especially the Ariel poems, without reference to her suicide” (Peterson, 109). Plath wrote about self harm very specifically in “Cut” and in more nuanced fashion in
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She speaks of her children and the beauty of motherhood in some of the Ariel poems. However, in true Plath fashion, she did not write about the positive for the most part. Her oldest two poems in the collection were “You’re” and “Morning Song”, both about her children. Both of these were written in 1960 and Plath would not start her serious mental decline until about two years later, explaining the absence of death in these poems. In “Morning Song”, Plath uses heavy imagery and metaphor to explain waking up to a child’s cry. She explains how motherhood made her feel deeply juxtaposed by her description of her child. She says, “I am no more your mother / Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow / Effacement at the wind’s hand” (Plath, 157). Motherhood is dragging her further and further away from her own youth, and she is not pleased. The older her child gets, the further away she is from her young

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