Sylvia Plath: Poems

An Analysis of "Mirror" by Sylvia Plath College

Sylvia Plath’s "Mirror" explores the impact of time on individuals, specifically within the realities of aging and losing beauty; here, Plath speaks from an implied autobiographical perspective. As readers, we know that much of Plath’s oeuvre of poetry focuses on her lost youth and her gradual lack of beauty as she ages. Plath uses personification of the inanimate mirror to highlight how it is not the mirror that is problematic; it is her own reflection. The mirror is simply “not cruel, only truthful,” thus simply serving as an honest perception of her beauty. The use of the verb “cruel” displays how time can play tricks on people and make them feel undermined by their own reflections. Similarly, Plath’s poem "Facelift" also delves into the idea of her hating her inner and younger self.

Plath uses the theme of time within "Mirror" to investigate how everyone wastes time, in some form. She explores the idea of regret throughout time, pondering how she once spent her youth worrying about her aesthetic beauty and how she looked to others for validation. She looks in the mirror to search its “reaches for what she really is”; the use of this metaphor distinctively displays how Plath is confused about who she has become and how she...

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