Traumatic Events In Sylvia Plath's Life

2095 Words9 Pages

From the age of eight until her death, Sylvia Plath struggled with mental illness. Along with frequent therapy visits, she wrote poetry to reflect the many events in her life. She wrote about everything, from the things that brought her great joy to the things that drove her to attempt suicide. One recurring topic of her poems is her father, Otto Plath, who she adored until he died of undiagnosed diabetes when she was eight. This event sparked a lifetime of depression and anger towards her father. It inspired her to write some of her most famous poems, one being called “Daddy.” She describes it as “an awful little allegory, in which the speaker of the poem felt compelled to act out” (Brown and Taylor 1). His death plants a fear of abandonment …show more content…

“Daddy” reflects two completely different time periods in Plath’s life. The first age it reflects is her youth, particularly right after her father died. She confesses in an interview that her life was “sealed off after the age of seven and that her adolescence was not too happy, causing her to become introverted and to write diary poems between the ages of nine and sixteen” (Butscher 14). Her father’s death was the reason behind many of the poems she wrote, often serving as her muse (Rietz 418). This traumatic event appears in Plath’s poetry as an end to her wholeness and her perfect childhood (Kroll 1). In the poems she wrote in her younger years, the part of Sylvia that is left behind from her father’s death has been “amputated from reality; it is incomplete, false, because an essential part of her has been buried with him” (Kroll 1). Plath does not feel complete again until she meets someone to replace the hole in her heart that her father left, which was Ted Hughes. Once she met Hughes, they inspired each other’s poetry and success. When Plath became pregnant with a child, her creativity was stimulated and she was put in touch with her deepest resources (Kroll 1). This made her poetry written during this time more positive and her new and improved poetic skills were easily attained (Kroll 1). However, according to the authors of Plath, Sylvia 1932 – 1963 include in their biography of her that “some of Plath’s poems hint at darker forces in her marriage; her Newnham tutor later commented on ‘the passionate rage which has since come to be recognized as the dominating emotion of her poetry’ (Wagner 84)” (Brown and Taylor 1). Things took a sudden turn one day when she finds out he had been having an affair and abandons her. This sent her into another pit of depression, however this time she does not survive. Everyday Plath wakes up during what is called “the Blue Hour,” which gets its name from being the time of day she is most depressed (Alexander 332). During

Show More
Open Document