Sylvia Plath Essay

3041 words - 13 pages

Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. She is widely recognized as one of the most important American poets of the twentieth century. Her best-known poems are carefully crafted pieces noted for their personal imagery and intense focus. Many concern such themes as alienation, death, and self-destruction. Her vivid imagery, searing tone, and intimate topics cemented her place among the pantheon of great poets. Best known for novel The Bell Jar and her second volume of poetry, Ariel, Plath's reputation has only grown since her death in 1963. She is considered a poet of the confessional movement, which was led by Robert Lowell, but her work transcends ...view middle of the document...

After Otto's death, Aurelia moved Sylvia and her younger brother to Wellesley, where she began teaching medical-secretary training classes at Boston University. Plath published her first poem at age eight. She entered and won many literary contests and while still in high school sold her first poem to The Christian Science Monitor and her first short story to Seventeen magazine.
By the time she entered College she already had an impressive list of publications

After publishing the story "And Summer Will Not Come Again" in Seventeen magazine and the poem "Bitter Strawberries" in Christian Science Monitor in 1950, Plath earned a scholarship to Smith College and majored in English literature and composition. while at Smith she wrote over four hundred poems. She published additional poems in Harper's. A subsequent story, "Sunday at the Mintons," won a Mademoiselle scholarship, a position on the magazine's college board, and a summer internship in New York. she stayed in New York City for a month. But her experience did not offer her exactly what she had expected. She started seeing herself and her life with a depressing point of view. Many of the events that took place during that summer were later used as inspiration for her novel The Bell Jar.[13] During this time she was refused admission to the Harvard writing seminar.[11] Following electroconvulsive therapy for depression, Plath made her first medically documented suicide attempt in late August 1953 by crawling under her house and taking her mother's sleeping pills.
She survived this first suicide attempt after lying unfound in a crawl space for three days, later writing that she "blissfully succumbed to the whirling blackness that I honestly believed was eternal oblivion.
She spent the next six months in psychiatric care, receiving more electric and insulin shock treatment under the care of Dr. Ruth Beuscher.[3] Her stay at McLean Hospital and her Smith scholarship were paid for by Olive Higgins Prouty, who had successfully recovered from a mental breakdown herself. Plath seemed to make a good recovery and returned to college. In January 1955, she submitted her thesis, The Magic Mirror: A Study of the Double in Two of Dostoyevsky's Novels, and in June graduated from Smith with highest honors.[15] Plath also grabbed a Fulbright scholarship to Newnham College, Cambridge. At Cambridge, she continued to write poetry enthusiastically. Her work was published in the student’s newspaper “Varsity”.

In a 1961 BBC interview (now held by the British Library Sound Archive), Plath and poet Ted Hughes describe how they met and eventually came to be married. Hughes begins, "I left Cambridge in 1954, but I still had friends there that I used to go back and see now and again. And one of these friends produced a poetry magazine, it just sold one issue. Anyway, I had some poems in this and we had a celebration the day it came out." "To which I came," Plath...

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