The Mirror Sylvia Plath Analysis

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Sylvia Plath’s poem, “The Mirror,” is full of imagery and comparisons. Plath uses these in order to emphasize the point she is trying to make with the poem about beauty, aging, self-image, and the way society views the three. Comparisons are made throughout the poem that convey feelings and ideas that would not have the same affect if they were explicitly stated.
The poem is narrated by the mirror itself, which is personified by Plath. According to Aidan Curran, this makes the poem seem both more interesting and more sinister. I agree with this statement, as the mirror begins by making statements about itself, claiming to have no preconceptions and to be “unmisted,” just something that “swallows” what it sees and reflects it. This implies
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In the poem, Plath says the woman “search[es] [the lake’s] reaches for what she really is,” implying that the woman is looking for a truth in the reflection that she can’t find, probably because she is looking for a truth that doesn’t exist. She wants to see herself as truly young and beautiful, but when she can’t find it she turns away, toward “those liars,” that will show her what she wants to see. For the woman, the lie is preferable to the truth. I also think that suggesting there is a deeper, darker reality, similar to the depths of the lake, reflects the idea that the mirror tries to convey when it compares itself to the “eye of the little god, four-cornered” (5). There is so much more behind the mirror; it is so much more than just a reflection of the truth, as it first …show more content…
She says, “In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman / Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish” (17-18). The first part is a use of metaphor; the young girl the woman has “drowned” is the younger version of herself, which she probably viewed in the mirror constantly, and now that girl no longer remains, because when the she looks in the mirror now, she sees “an old woman,” that she has grown into. The young girl is the acceptable version of herself, according to society, and the version of herself that the woman likes. I think this is why Plath used the word “drowned.” This gives the feeling that the evil was in erasing this innocent beauty from the world. However, the old woman is described as a “terrible fish,” because this version of the woman is not accepted by society, and therefore she fears it. She hides from it, by turning her back on it and turning instead toward candles and moonlight so that she sees a more attractive view. The woman is afraid of society’s judgments of an old woman, and so she indirectly fears that woman herself. She is ashamed of what she has become. Plath uses many comparisons and images in order to convey her feelings/the woman’s feelings about age, self-image, beauty and society’s view of the three. Some may argue that she is taking a stand against the patriarchy through the poem, but I only agree with this to an extent. I think the Plath portrays the mirror

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