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They appease her with falsities, whereas the mirror shows her the truth.This is why the mirror considers himself a superior friend.
The poetess suffered from clinical depression and attempted suicide several times, succeeding in 1963 at the age of 30.
It is unclear when this poem was written, but it is alleged that it was around 1961, at a time when the poet had undergone much emotional turmoil and had also produced a number of works including her only novel ‘The Bell Jar.’ The poem was published in 1971 as a part of the anthology ‘Crossing the Water.’ The theme of the poem is that of truth and its effects. It is imperative to read between the lines of the poem to fully grasp its idea.
Although it is a free verse, there is a solid structure to the poem.
There is an excessive use of stops in the form of commas and periods instead of enjambment, which suggests clarity and makes the poem appear more like a prose. Personification: The entire poem is a personification, as the mirror, an inanimate object speaks in the first person and describes itself like a human, possessed of human virtues. Comparisons: The phrase ‘Now I am a lake’ forms a good example of a metaphor, whereas the last line has the words ‘like a terrible fish’ forming a simile where old-age is compared to a fish. Repetition: Repetition is used strategically by the poet at the end of each stanza giving it a ‘trailing’ effect to represent continuity.
The mirror here is used as a symbol to procreate the poet’s own emotions and states. There is an impending question in the poem: is it better to know the truth even when it is dissatisfying?
Free Verse: The poem is a free verse, in that it has no rhyme scheme.The mirror is not driven by likes and dislikes, but is bluntly truthful.It calls itself ‘the eye of a little god.’ This is because the mirror is impartial like a deity and moreover it shows people their true selves like a god who assists us in the discovery of our true nature. The mirror here stands as a symbol of unsullied truth and honesty.The mirror is presented in the first stanza as shiny (silver), exact and non-judgmental.It presents everything as it is without any interpolation of its own.We will talk here more about the feelings conveyed in the poem.In the first stanza, the mirror is represented as a truthful object. This shows an acceptance of that loneliness and even affection towards it. It is a common feeling that truth and honesty are the best policy, but in this situation, we discover the complex dilemma where truth is disagreeable.Mirror is a truly unusual and unique piece as it attempts to present truth about the self, unhindered even by personal conceptions.Sylvia Plath was a famous poet of the 1950’s and 60’s.The mirror also says that the wall has become a part of its heart and that it doesn’t like being separated from it.The phrase ‘part of my heart’ is interesting to note here.