Mirror by Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plath, in Term Paper

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Mirror" by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath, in her poem, "Mirror," uses a number of devices to bring across to the reader her theme. The title for example serves to give the reader an initial idea of the theme, and indeed this appears to be substantiated by the rest of the text. Nonetheless, there is also a deeper, more emotional theme that emerges towards the later lines of the poem. Thus, Plath uses devices such as symbolism, imagery and contrast in order to explicate the theme of reality and emotion as they are intertwined with the mirror on the wall of an aging woman.

The first lines of the poem then begin to explicate the role of the mirror from a purely factual, realistic point-of-view. This is substantiated by the material symbolism of the mirror: it is made of glass, which is "silver and exact" (line 1), showing everything "Just as it is" (line 3). The concept of "truth" is thus associated with the mirror in way that cannot be argued against or interpreted any differently from what is shown. Reality and truth are then coupled in this stanza by a separation from emotion. The mirror is "unmisted" (line 3), not affected by either positive or negative emotion. The truth that it shows has nothing to do with the non-existent emotion of the mirror, or the potential emotion of the object reflected in its clear glass. The truth is thus shown with absolute, "unmisted" clarity.

The most poignant contrast found in the poem is between the constancy symbolized by the mirror and the concept of change, which can be found in the second part of the first stanza. The assertion of the mirror in the fifth line of its nature and its shape, is the epitome of its claim to constant truth. It is "four-cornered" and "the eye of a little god." This suggests that it never changes in its vision of reality unmarred by emotion or change. In line 8 of the first stanza however it becomes clear that change is indeed part of the mirror's life. The wall at which it looks constantly "flickers." This is preceded by the word…

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