Sylvia Plath: Final Project Proposal

Submitted By drakenowitzki
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Sylvia Plath: Final Project Proposal Sylvia Plath is considered an important poet of the post World War II era because of the way her poems startle many. After her suicide in 1963, many argued that Plath’s seemingly violent and unsettling poems were due to her personal problems, although even before such problems arose, Plath wrote poems that would cause chills down anyone’s spine. Due to her unnatural death, many blamed the relationship between Plath and her parents and her husband for her suicide. Feminists argued that Plath was oppressed, as a daughter, wife and a mother. Plath’s poems and other writings portray images that are quite harsh and disturbing but shine light on the other side of life. In this paper, I will argue that Sylvia Plath holds a significant place in American literature because she dared to use personal topics such as womanhood, individual suffering and the certainty of death and expressed them through the use of bold metaphors and stark imagery. Sylvia Plath was born in Boston in 1932 and lived there until her father died when she was eight years old. After her father’s death, Plath’s mother began teaching at Boston University while Plath “embarked on a brilliant academic career, aspiring with immense discipline and hard work to become the ideal all-rounder” (O’Reilly 356). Plath received numerous awards and published stories and poetry in magazines while she was still in her teens. It is obvious that Plath was an overachieving child but when she was an undergraduate at Smith College, she underwent severe manic depression because of which she attempted to commit suicide. Although she survived, she was still under depression.
After her recovery, Plath went back to college and received a scholarship to Cambridge University, in England, where she met Ted Hughes. Plath and Hughes married each other in 1956 but due to certain circumstances, their marriage came to an end, leaving Plath with two young children. According to many, it is thought that Plath got tired of living a suffocating life and ended it for once and for all that same year. Thus, the things that Plath writes about in most of her writing and expresses through metaphors and imagery can be related back to her harsh past and the events that made her do what she did. “The critical reactions to both The Bell Jar and Ariel were inevitably influenced by the manner of Plath’s death at thirty” (Materer). In The Bell Jar, Plath writes about a woman who is oppressed in society, forced to become what she does not want to be. This woman attempts to commit suicide but in the end, she figures out a way to live in this society while writing about her life. The Bell Jar told a story opposite that of Plath’s because after her first attempt at suicide, Plath could not live in this society anymore and rather than trying to fit in, she…