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27 October 2011 @ 10:19 pm
Celebrating Sylvia.  
Today is Sylvia Plath's birthday. Looking back, when i first discovered her works at age 13, I can honestly say she has greatly impacted and changed the course of my life. I credit Sylvia's genius as my inspiration to explore poetry and try to become a confessional poet. Now, almost five years later, I still am fascinated and in love with her work. In honor of Sylvia, I made an appreciation post of her best works, quotes and other things below. Her memory lives on today, and I sincerely believe it always shall. ♥




The Bell Jar

This is a sensational novel about depression. Even the style of writing is very bleak, and melancholic. I first read it at 12, and was so disturbed I barely finished it. I re-read it at 15, and found I could connect with many of the feelings that Sylvia expressed on the world through her character, Esther Greenwood. The distaste for sexism, the feelings of inexplicable sadness over what seem to be so simple and easy to others (like her internship, and life in the city, and dating). I recommend it to anyone who wants to get a grasp on what major depression is like. The entire symbol of the bell jar is incredible, and Plath was genius to invent such a metaphor - being depressed is like being trapped in a bell jar, smothering with your own negativity.

Quotes

"I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, 'This is what it is to be happy.'"
- Chapter 8

"Doctor Nolan said, quite bluntly, that a lot of people would treat me gingerly, or even avoid me, like a leper with a warning bell. My mother's face floated to mind, a pale reproachful moon, at her last and first visit to the asylum since my twentieth birthday. A daughter in an asylum! I had done that to her."
- Chapter 20


Ariel

This book of poetry is a haunting inspiration to me. Many of Sylvia's best works are included in this anthology, including "Lady Lazarus" and "Daddy". It screams tragedy, power, and pain. It's harsh, unrelenting, and beautifully written. Facing death and life fearlessly, this book shows Sylvia's growth as a poet. This was written with death's kiss.

Quotes

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.
- Lady Lazarus

The woman is perfected.
Her dead
Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity
Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare
Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.
- Edge


The Journals

Reading Sylvia's journal was actually painfully peaceful, and painfully sad. The woman behind these moving, feminist works, that are filled with such a deeply cultivated genius, was actually very lonely and troubled - not always wanting to die, but often very lonely, feeling as if she were peering at others from the outside in, always feeling that she had fallen short of her own expectations, always unhappy with her work. Don't we all feel this way from time to time? Her observations are extremely, extremely intelligent. Yet even when she wrote her journals, she sounded poetic. It amazes me.

Quotes

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.”

“Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that - I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much - so very much to learn.”


Ted Hughes

What is it about their relationship that is so intriguing? After reading many biographies about their life together (as well as observing an adaption of it on the silver screen in Sylvia, which was somewhat poor) I've come to the conclusion that Sylvia did love and care for her husband, but was deeply wounded by his indiscretions.

Their relationship was the type we often see today, one of volatile, great passion, a lot of instability; one that burns intensely and fades just as quickly. It seemed to be filled with enlightening ups and depressive downs. It was a tragic union. Ted was at fault for treating Sylvia like an indestructible object, and not being more faithful and compassionate to her. Ultimately this would have prolonged her life, though I doubt it would have kept her forever from suicide. And that is the saddest thing of all. 

 
 
Current Mood: artisticartistic
 
 
 
12_bloody_roses: freedom12_bloody_roses on October 29th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
I really want to start reading her works. I am a sap for angst and all things dark. What's a good place to start? O_O
Shelby: The Bell Jar I Destroyed Fantasiesrot_chan on October 29th, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
I actually recommend you start with something a little less intense than Ariel, perhaps only so you can compare her early material to the phenomenal final works she penned.

Try the collection "Crossing The Water" or "The Colossus", and then move onto "Ariel". Finally, read her entire collection all at once... it seems so cohesive that way. I would definitely save her journals for last. You will LOVE her work if you appreciate angst and exploring the darkness of human nature... her words have an almost soothing, maternal quality to them.
12_bloody_roses12_bloody_roses on October 29th, 2011 09:05 pm (UTC)
Sounds good :) Thanks!