Sylvia plath at seventeen

If only I can work, work, work to justify all of my opportunities.

sylvia plath mother

Plath did get married and did have kids. Spare me from cooking three meals a day — spare me from the relentless cage of routine and rote.

Am I wrong when this image insinuates itself between me and the merciless mirror? I have to live well and rich and far to write… I could never be a narrow introvert writer, the way many are, for my writing depends so much on my life. I am afraid. I deplore constrictions and limitations… I am not as wise as I have thought. I do not know. Shallit's story received many letters of praise to the editor in the months following its appearance. I am afraid. How awful to be anyone but I. What do I want? Hardly anything poses this question more acutely than the short, exuberant, and tragic life of beloved poet Sylvia Plath October 27, —February 11, Now, now is the perfect time of my life. I am afraid of getting older. I love my flesh, my face, my limbs with overwhelming devotion.

Twenty-three-year-old Plath writes: Dearest Mother, … Both of us are just slowly coming out of our great fatigue from the whirlwind plans and events of last month; and after meandering about Paris, sitting, writing and reading in the Tuileries, have produced a good poem apiece, which is a necessity to our personal self-esteem — not so much a good poem or story, but at least several hours work of solid writing a day.

If not, then, is there a reason? I feel uncertain. Every day is so precious I feel infinitely sad at the thought of all this time melting father and farther away from me as I grow older.

Even now I dread the big choices which loom up in my life — what college? Slow to start, receiving scores of rejection letters, Plath's words finally landed her in print as a high schooler with an anonymous appearance in November Never, never, never will I reach the perfection I long for with all my soul — my paintings, my poems, my stories — all poor, poor reflections… for I have been too thoroughly conditioned to the conventional surroundings of this community… my vanity desires luxuries which I can never have… I am continually more aware of the power which chance plays in my life… There will come a time when I must face myself at last. If only I can work, work, work to justify all of my opportunities. Do I find entertainment? Andrew Wilson relates a memory of Aurelia Plath's in his excellent biography Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted: "The [original] title [of "Heather-Birds' Eyebrows"] came from a conversation that occurred while Sylvia, 'carrying out orders during high school sorority hazing, asked people on the bus what they ate for breakfast,' recalled Aurelia. I love my flesh, my face, my limbs with overwhelming devotion. I have a terrible egotism. I deplore constrictions and limitations… I am not as wise as I have thought. Now, now is the perfect time of my life.

I have a terrible egotism. I have to live well and rich and far to write… I could never be a narrow introvert writer, the way many are, for my writing depends so much on my life.

I long for a cause to devote my energies to… Advertisements. In reflecting back upon these last sixteen years, I can see tragedies and happiness, all relative — all unimportant now — fit only to smile upon a bit mistily.

sylvia plath relationship with mother

I am afraid of getting older. I want to be free — free to know people and their backgrounds — free to move to different parts of the world so I may learn that there are other morals and standards besides my own. Is not that image, free from blemish, the true self — the true perfection?

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Reflections of a year