Mirror by Sylvia Plath: A Highly Underrated Poem

Today is the birthday of the amazing poet Sylvia Plath ! Let us celebrate her by remembering one of her greatest underrated works, Mirror.

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Today marks the day where an outstanding, timeless feminist icon was born. On this day, Sylvia Plath graced the earth with her brilliant presence and gorgeous words. Sylvia Plath was an American poet; she is commonly credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry and is best known for one of my favorite books The Bell Jar; she is also the author of one of my favorite poems, Mirror. Plath was born in Boston and studied at Smith College, and she married fellow poet Ted Hughes.


She and Ted had a very tumultuous relationship; she even accused him of abuse in the letters that she wrote throughout her adult life. She suffered a lot of strife through her relationship life, but also she suffered greatly from depression. She put these thoughts and feelings into her writing and created some of the most empathetic notions that still resonate in the literary world today.

Plath wrote a multitude of amazing poems and stories that premises frequently centered around confessionals and her own personal thoughts and emotions. One of my personal favorite poems of hers is Mirror. Mirror was written in 1961, and it is a two-stanza poem. During the time of writing this Plath was living in England with her husband. She had just given birth to their first child, Frieda. This was a stressful time for Plath; as a first-time mother, she was struggling with relationship problems with her spouse, and deep down she struggled with the fact that time was passing and she was growing older and older. She dreaded the idea of settling down and aging. Mirror explores this uncertainty of self and through Plath’s powerful language, sharp imagery, unusual syntax, and astute use of enjambment Mirror is a personification of great depth. 

Sylvia Plath as a whole holds a grave influence over me as a writer. Her writing, to me, feels like an old friend. I love her language, her tone of voice, everything. She is an amazing literary artist, and this poem particularly is what got me into poetry and becoming so in love with it; she pushed me to write my own. My favorite line is “I am not cruel, only truthful…”

It is obvious that this poem talks deeply about the speaker’s fear of aging and death, as the poem is told from the perspective of a mirror and it reflects the speaker’s fear of her own mortality. I think that overall, reading Sylvia Plath has always been a comfort source for me whenever I feel anxious or depressed because, as aforementioned, her writing and words feel like the presence of an old friend. I love the short, quick lines that hold so much emotion. I love that she is vulnerable and bears her emotions and fear of death with grace and confidence.

Her vulnerability and fear are comforting to me because I know that I am not alone; she deals with the same struggles as I do. This is why I feel that her work is still relevant and celebrated today because she harnesses so much empathy, as well as being an advocate for women’s rights. The way she highlights the injustices towards women and the mentally ill makes her all the more important to history. This is why she is still celebrated and honored today.

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