Sylvia Plath 2
Today we’re gonna look at the life and some of the works of one of amerika’s finest modern female poet, Sylvia Plath.
At the time of her death in 1963
Sylvia Plath was on the verge of the critical success and recognition that she had sought for most of her life. Her first novel “ The Bell Jar” had just been published and the publication of her collection of poem “ Ariel” had just been agreed.
These poem, which were mostly written during the last year of her life, chronicle the traumatic developments taking place in her personal life and were to make for her a reputation as a first rate poet. But it wasn’t until 1982, almost twenty years after her death, that her posthumously published ‘ Collected Poem’ won the Pulitzer prize for literature. Since this time the fascination and intrigue with her work has continued to grow. Very few modern poets have captured the popular imagination as much as plath, even to the extent that in 2003 a movie was made about her life and her intense relationship with husband and fellow poet ted huges.
To understand the continued growth in interest in her work, we have to look at the issues with her life and work address. As susan bassnett writes in her book on women writes.
‘ Dying as she she did in 1963, Sylvia Plath never knew that so soon afterwards the problems of what and how women write was to become such a crucial matter and was to be debated by so many other women.’
So Sylvia Plath was a women writing about women’s issues before they recognised as being of any importance.
Sylvia Plath was born at robinson memorial hospital in boston on 27th October 1932. she was the first born child of otto and auralia plath, both highly educated academic people. Her father otto was a professor of biology at boston university, but her mother had been subjugated into a domestic role as housewife despite her level of education. Her father was not to pleased with the birth of his daughter and demanded that his wife have a soon within the next two years. Amazingly enough his wife obliged by giving birth to a son almost exactly two years later.
This domineering father figure become a common theme that recurred throughout Palth’s writing. With the birth of her brother, Silvia had to work much harder to win her father’s attention and approval. When in 1936 plath’s father became ill, access to him became even more restricted, and Plath’s main means of getting attention from her father was by achieving academic success. This meant that from an early age she began to equate love with success.
In 1940 Plath’s father died and this left the family in a very difficult financial situation. They were forced to move away from the seaside home that Plath had enjoyed so much and into a suburb of boston and her mother had to take a part time job to support the family.
In 1950 Plath graduated from Bradford high school and won a scholarship to smith college. In the same year she published a short story entitled ‘And summer will not come again’ and poem called ‘ Bitter strawberries’.
Plath’s time at smith was difficult as she had very high expectations of herself. She wanted to achieve immaculate grades, but she also wanted to be accepted by her peers and an important part of being accepted was being popular and dating lots of boys. This was difficult because as a scholarship girl she had only a very small allowance to spend on clothes and going out, and each year’s continued scholarship was dependent on the level of her grades.
In 1953 Plath won a fiction contest sponsored by madamouselle magazine and was offered the opportunity to go to new york as a guest editor. She relished this opportunity to spend a month working in professional publishing environment, but Plath returned from new york feeling exhausted and after hearing news that her application to creative writing course had been rejected, she fall into what was become one of many depressions.