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Analysis and comments on Mirror by Sylvia Plath

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Comment 25 of 185, added on March 27th, 2005 at 4:58 PM.

you guys are disgusting and disrespectful. mirror is a beautiful poem about
love, lies, truth and self esteem.

belinda from Australia
Comment 24 of 185, added on March 27th, 2005 at 5:28 AM.

Did anyone else feel like a wank after eading this poem

Xoidsfh from China
Comment 23 of 185, added on March 17th, 2005 at 9:28 PM.

ylvia Plath was born in Boston in 1932, and she passed away in 1963.
Although she lived a very unique lifestyle Sylvia Plath became a very well
known respectable poet. Plath published her first poem at the age of eight.
She suffered from a serious mental illness, and committed suicide at the
age of thirty. She wrote many poems, but the ones selected by her late
husband Ted Hughes were published in 1985. Among the poems that were
selected was one of her most famous piece called Mirror.
The poems Mirror is about a women looking to a mirror for its truthfulness
when searching for her true identity.
The mirror in the poem symbolizes truth. Truth is a powerful tool in the
piece. The mirror is cold and sharp like its touch. When you look into a
mirror you only see what is there, the phase “Whatever I see I swallow
immediately”2 supports my statement. If a person has flaws a mirror will be
straight forward and display them with no hesitation “Searching my reaches
for what she really is”11. In the first stanza, the “I am not cruel, only
truthful”4 phrase reveals the mirror's personality and charter. Unlike
humans a mirror cannot judge her with opinions. Sylvia Plath uses
onomatopoeia to give the mirror human characteristics. On line five she
writes “The eye of a little god, four-cornered” which shows that the mirror
is given God-like powers over the women. It becomes almost an obsessive
relationship between the mirror and the women because she looks to the
mirror for comfort only to confronted with the truth about your youth
wasting away.
The mirror triggers conscious and unconscious memories of her life
faithfully. On line thirteen it reads “ I see her back, and reflect it
faithfully” once again showing that truthful charter of the mirror.
Regardless of the fact she hates her reflection the women becomes dependent
on the mirror, and on line fifteen you can see that relationship were it
saws “I am important to her. She comes and goes”15. The phase “I am silver
and exact. I have no preconceptions”1. Shows that a mirror is not capable
of showing anything else, then what is put in front of it. The mirror shows
no color and has no preference.
Although the mirror revels reality the women still clings to objects that
blind her from the truth. In the second stanza, the phases“Then she turn to
those liars, the candles or the moon”12 shows that the women is attempting
to hide her flaws behind the darkness. It is very clever that Sylvia Plath
used the candles and moon light in this poem because those two items
usually are used for romance. While searching for her identity she
contradicts herself by running away from the truth, instead of embracing
Even away from the mirror the woman is forced to face reality through
nature. The lake is very similar to the mirror because they both reveal the
women's true identity and honest reflection. Plath uses a metaphor to refer
to the candles and moon as lairs because they just reveal shadows, and they
only show half of the big pictures. The candles and moonlight don't give
the exact truth like the mirror. The candles and moon are just distractions
to finding the essential self. The candle and moonlight show her a
deceptive delusion by hiding winkles, dentures, hair loss, and weight
The phase “Now I am a lake”10 reveals the transformation of the mirror.
The women then realizes even outside of her home she can't escape the
truth. It is obvious that she is unhappy with her reflection. On line
fourteen it states “She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands”,
which implies that she is aging, and it is difficult for her to except the
aging process with open arms. While she is crying the mirror sees it was a
reward and has no sympathy. The women misses the youth and beauty of the
young girl she was. On line seventeen it states “In me she has drowned a
young girl, and in me an old women”17. It is very difficult for the women
to go though the aging process because she feels depressed and
The last line of the poem reads “Rises toward her day after day, like a
terrible fish”18, indicates that she feels insecure about her reflection.
It is interesting that Plath choose a fish instead of any other animal.
When Plath used a lake in place of a mirror she may have needed a creature
that lived in a lake to compare her feeling of living in the mirror. She is
trying to make to point that a fish depends on water the same way the woman
depends on the mirror. Usually fish are very glamorous animals because they
come in all different shapes and sizes, but the women in the poem
contradicts that stereotype. She sees herself as a something terrible
because of her fading beauty. Sylvia Plath suffered from depression and
had very little compassion for herself. This poem shows how she was sacred
from the truth the mirror was showing her. Throughout this poem there is a
theme of the truth and lies. The poem Mirror is about a women torn between
the true picture of herself and the distorted image others see of her.

Jenny Shungu from United States
Comment 22 of 185, added on February 28th, 2005 at 9:01 PM.

I think this is a beautiful poem which doesn't have to be over analyzed.
What I like to do is just sit back and enjoy the beauty of it.

Amber from United States
Comment 21 of 185, added on February 2nd, 2005 at 12:02 PM.

I noticed as I read on the comments were a wee bit upset with the
professor. Although I must agree with him. Without reading “The Bell Jar”
or her Bio you are going to take a poem and reflect it toward your life’s
emotions and strife or you will try to analyze with what you do know about
her. In “The Bell Jar” there is a entire explanation about the mirror.
She had attempted her first suicide with sleeping pills in the crawl space
of her home. She took too many which saved her life. (she vomited them
up). She was there for 3 days before she was found. In the hospital she
talked a nurse into giving her a mirror. The nurse refused at first then
finally let her have it. At the sight of herself swollen, bruised and bald
she dropped the mirror and broke it. She ended up in a mental institution
undergoing shock therapy. Which would explain the bottom portion of the
poem. I have noticed in my independent study of Plath she basis most of
her writings on her own life and strife. Cueing in actual events. Once
you’ve read the “Bell Jar” which I recommend and more vivid bios her works
make so much more sense in aspect to her herself. Hope this cleared up
some of the fogginess. After reading this comment, reread the poem. See
what you think.

Lenore from United States
Comment 20 of 185, added on January 17th, 2005 at 8:51 PM.

I believe that the "Mirror" is about Ted Hughes representing the mirror and
Sylvia Plath herself as the woman. He's not "cruel, only truthful--" and
powerful over her "the eye of a little god, four-cornered". He does not
wish to become closer to her, merely letting darkness and people come
between them. The lake has no big thing, only that it is equivalent, for
it reflects. Sylvia is the woman, giving up her past and her future for
him. Oh, how I luv symbolism! (Yes, I know I am that UK nerd...)

Victoria Lucas from United Kingdom
Comment 19 of 185, added on January 17th, 2005 at 12:29 PM.

lance bass - just because you're a professor don't think you know
everything! i believe it's about her experience in the psychiatric
hospital. the woman she refers to is her mother - "she rewards me with
tears and an agitation of hands. i am important to her, she comes and goes"
read the bell jar and you will see :)

becky from United Kingdom
Comment 18 of 185, added on January 5th, 2005 at 6:11 PM.

If you think about it, at one point or another, haven't we felt this way;
just like the mirror or the woman. You know that Sylvia is not talking
about a mirror, but maybe about herself of as someone else said, her
husband. But why take this poem and analyze it? Why not look at it and say,
'wow, that really can relate to me'. Isn't that what poems are for? Haven't
you ever felt that way?

Dasha from United States
Comment 17 of 185, added on December 29th, 2004 at 12:27 AM.

I think this poem is great I have never read a poem that touched me. I
think it is great that we all read the same thoughts of someone who is
passed so long and interpret it so differently...i wonder what she intended
us to think. I just know it meant a lot to me and I hope she is happy where
she is now:)

Katie Berard from United States
Comment 16 of 185, added on December 23rd, 2004 at 12:45 PM.

I believe she was feeling the effects all women feel going from gorgious
twenties two thirties loosing the attention of the room when entering it.
And dealing with that.

MARIA from United States

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Information about Mirror

Poet: Sylvia Plath
Poem: Mirror
Volume: The Collected Poems
Year: 1961
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 11911 times

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