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Sylvia Plath - Plath's Poetry Can Be A Disturbing Experience

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“Reading the poetry of Sylvia Plath can be a disturbing experience.” 4

Discuss. 4

“Reading the poetry of Sylvia Plath can be a disturbing experience.”


Although I consider her work to be full of quality, I must agree with the above statement as, for me, reading Plath's poetry was quite a disturbing experience. The best poems to explore my experience are ‘Black Rook in Rainy Weather’, ‘Finisterre’, ‘Morning Song’, ‘Child’ and, of course, ‘Poppies in July’. There are poems aren’t quite as depressing as some of Plath’s starker poems, such as ‘Pheasant’, but certainly an unsettled atmosphere dominates them in a way that many of my fellow readers will agree is disturbing.

The main theme explored in ‘Black Rook in Rainy Weather’ is Plath’s lack of inspiration and the depression that arises within her as a result. Throughout, Plath’s speaker reads as being in a state of desperation and describes their life as a ‘season of fatigue’ (something that forms part of the poem’s psychological landscape) with only some ‘brief respites from fear of total neutrality.’ 

In this poem, as Plath perceives it, her life is empty, to the extent that the most banal things may and must serve as inspiration for her tormented mind: ‘A minor light may still lean incandescent out of kitchen table or chair as if a celestial burning took possession of the most obtuse objects now and then…’ 

On the other hand, it is somewhat comforting to realise that Plath is able to find inspiratio...

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