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Mirror. “Mirrors are ice which do not melt: what melts are those who admire themselves in them.” - Paul Morand.

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Presentation on theme: "Mirror. “Mirrors are ice which do not melt: what melts are those who admire themselves in them.” - Paul Morand."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mirror

2 “Mirrors are ice which do not melt: what melts are those who admire themselves in them.” - Paul Morand

3 Who is Sylvia Plath? ( ) Tragic death runs in Plath’s family. When she was just eight years old, her father died of complications from diabetes, which could have been prevented if he had sought treatment earlier. On the outside – a model of achievement! Fearsome inner turmoil! Plath struggled with depression throughout her life, and she attempted suicide (a topic later use in The Bell Jar) Went through psychiatric treatment and electroshock therapy. She ended her life in February of 1963, after she and her husband, poet Ted Hughes, separated, leaving Plath to care for their two children.

4 Who is Sylvia Plath? ( ) Plath's poetry carries us into the mind of a woman surrounded by such tragedy – yet her poems are as beautiful as they are dark. Early writing by her was relatively restrained and formal, but later on showed violence and a frankness not seen in her earlier work. "Mirror," was written in 1961, roughly two years before Plath's suicide. It's tempting to read "Mirror" as a reflection of Plath's difficult life, but the poem has merit aside from its author's biographical intrigues. This poem has a mind of glass – sharp, clear, and unforgettable – and would be compelling no matter who wrote it. Robert Lowell said of Plath’s writing: “These poems are playing Russian roulette with six cartridges in the cylinder, a game of ‘chicken,’ the wheels of both cars locked and unable to swerve” – the poems he also said were “appalling and triumphant fulfillment” of her talents.

5 We all do it: We check our appearance in a mirror, partly to make sure we are appropriately groomed, partly in order to discover and polish our self- image. What might a mirror – “silver and exact” – think of the person peering into it?

6 Quick Literary Term Review! Personification Where an object or animal is given human qualities. For example: A mirror tells no lies.

7 Mirror by Sylvia Plath I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see, I swallow immediately. Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful – The eye of a little god, four-cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over. Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me. Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

8 I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see, I swallow immediately. Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful – The eye of a little god, four-cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over. How does the mirror describe itself?

9 Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me. Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish. In Greek mythology, Narcissus is a handsome young man so enamored with his own reflection in a pool that he turned into a flower. How do you think this line is similar to Narcissus?

10 Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me. Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish. How does the woman “reward” the mirror?

11 I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see, I swallow immediately. Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful – The eye of a little god, four-cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over. Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me. Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish. What is this poem witnessing?

12 I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see, I swallow immediately. Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful – The eye of a little god, four-cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over. Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me. Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish. How honest is the mirror?

13 I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see, I swallow immediately. Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful – The eye of a little god, four-cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over. Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me. Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish. The mirror compares itself to two different items... What are they?

14 I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see, I swallow immediately. Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful – The eye of a little god, four-cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over. Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me. Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish. In the end, how does the mirror describe the woman?

15 Some things to think about What is the effect of Plath's choice to write the poem from a mirror's perspective? 2. Why do you think Plath switched the perspective from a mirror to a lake? 3. Would this poem read differently if it had been written by a man? What about if a man was visiting the lake? 4. How does this poem relate to feminism? 5. How old do you think the woman in the poem is? Why?

16 So, what is your task? Over the past week or so, we have read a poem and two short stories where women were at the forefront. What if an object in their lives were to write a poem about them? Choose an item that is important to one of the characters/people (Anne Bradstreet, Alida, Grace, Jenny, Barbara, or the narrator from “The Yellow Wallpaper”– something they looked at, something that is tangible. It cannot be anything living – it must be an object! What can I choose? Would Anne’s house write about her, or would the Colosseum write about one of the women from “Roman Fever”? What would the wallpaper say about the narrator in “TYW”?

17 So, what is your task? You will write a piece that imitates “Mirror”! The object will have the chance to describe the character you have chosen. It must be 20 lines long! The first five lines the object must describe itself. The last five lines must explain why the object is important to the character! Your object must compare itself to two other items. Remember, the mirror compared itself to a god and to a lake. Think about the “relationship” this item has to the character. The rest of the poem the object will describe the character! Think about how the object might see the character. What is the character like when she uses this object? For example, if it were a pillow, would it only see the character as sleepy? If it was a journal, does it only see her as reflective and sad? Remember, this poem is from the view point of the object! The poem is in your text and online if you want to review it! Due Thursday! Must Be Typed!

18 Mirror I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see, I swallow immediately. Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful – The eye of a little god, four-cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over. Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me. Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.


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