Title: Looking at the title, you can predict it will simply talk about a mirror (its shape, colour, frame, etc.). However, if you dig deeper into its meaning, you can guess it speaks of a mirror’s impacts on the user who looks into it. Mirrors are often associated to self-confidence since, you impose judgement on your physical appearance when looking at your reflection. Knowing this, you can anticipate the theme of the poem having something to do with self-judgement or something along the lines of that.
Facts: -The speaker (narrator) of this poem is a reflection. At the start, the reflection speaking is the one built into a mirror (Ex: “I am silver and exact….Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall”). Next comes the reflection in a source of water which, in this case, is a lake (Ex: “Now I am a lake”). Finally, the reflection becomes one within the candles and moonlight (Ex: Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.”). The character existing in the poem is also the woman whom is looking into the reflection existing throughout the story. Some people can guess that the woman is Sylvia Plath or perhaps a little girl that, through the middle of the story, ages into an old woman that could have been her mother (more fragile, sad, in need of answers).
-There are two main settings in this poem. Firstly, it starts off in a room within a household. “I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles”: This line suggests that the location where the mirror is hanging is in a bathroom since, light colours like pinks often are used as wallpaper in washrooms. In the second stanza, the setting changes. The woman is now looking down at her reflection in a lake. There is no detail as to where the lake is located (forest, field, etc.) or how big the lake is. However, knowing that it is the same woman looking at her reflection throughout the entire poem, we can imagine that she often visits this lake to try to unmask her reflection and better understand who she is (Ex: ”Searching my reaches for what she really is”). In conclusion, we can piece together that the lake is somewhere close to her household since it seems to be a place she often visits in order to understand herself. In the line “Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon”, there are hints that it is nighttime at some point.
-The overall plot of the story is quite blunt compared to the rest of Plath’s poems. The aging woman is stuck in a constant struggle with the loss of her beauty. Though the woman occasionally misleads herself with the flattering "liars" candlelight and moonlight, she continually returns to the mirror for the truth. In the last two lines of this poem, we see why this woman is so upset: in her watery reflection, her past is drowning, and a horrible future is rising to meet her (Ex: In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.”).
Techniques: -Symbolism: The mirror is symbol for reality. Everything it perceives and reflects is the absolute truth. It cannot lie to you or show you something that is not there. Just like reality, it is “exact” and has “no preconceptions”.
-Imagery: “Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me, searching my reaches for what she really is”. This line contains sensory language helping u create a vivid image in our heads. Knowing that you can only see your reflection in water if it is still, we can imagine the woman bending over a still and quiet lake in a silent environment with no boats in the water. You can imagine her saddening facial expressions since she is in loss searching for whom she is. “Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles”. In this passage, the way the speaker describes the wall, something about those simple words leads us to imagine the wall clearly in your mind. You can imagine staring at a pink, speckled, wall. This helps…