Explication of “a Birthday Present” by Sylvia Plath Essay

1363 Words Nov 14th, 2012 6 Pages
George B

Explication of “A Birthday Present” by Sylvia Plath
For many readers, the draw of Sylvia Plath’s poetry is distinctly linked to her life as well as the desire to end her life. As Robert Lowell states in the forward of Ariel, “This poetry and life are not a career; they tell that a life, even when disciplined, is simply not worth it” (xv). “A Birthday Present”`, written by Plath in September of 1962 and hauntingly recorded in her own voice on audio in October of that same year, is just one of the many poems that comprise the collection titled Ariel. Its allusion to suicide is unmistakable. Its main theme is the escape from life that death provides.
Plath’s life as well as her desire to end it is well documented,
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/ You will not even hear me open it, no paper crackle, / No falling ribbons, no scream at the end. / I do not think you credit me with this discretion” (Lines 33-36). The shame attached to suicide is overwhelming, not necessarily for the victim but those left to deal with societal pressures associated with it. The speaker seems to take this into account as she contemplates the act; it is more important that those left behind are unscathed than the torture that

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