The nineteen fifties and sixties were a troubling time for Americans. Although the nation was prospering, a constant threat was hanging over the heads of every citizen. Oppressed classes found that they had more to fear than active members of society. Not only did they live in fear of attacks from another nation, but also attacks from fellow citizens of the United States. Women in America were subject to objectification from the men with whom they lived, and in turn began to question the purpose of existence. Neo-romanticism became a popular ideology once again, leading women to yearn for a life outside of the ones that they were living. The late fifties and early sixties reintroduced several radical ideologies such as: feminism, existentialism, and romanticism, all of which proved fatal for Sylvia Plath.
Plath was born in the seaside town of Winthrop, Massachusetts during the year of 1932. In her first eight years of life, Plath was troubled with the birth of a new sibling, the death of a parent, and the start of a war. These eight years were the calm before the stormy life of Sylvia Plath. As an only child, Plath felt threatened by the new baby in the family. Her new sibling, Warren, sparked a disdain for children that Plath would harbor for the rest of her life. In 1940, Plath’s father died and essentially robbed the children of a proper relationship with their mourning mother. The family moved inland where Plath focused on writing poetry until she began to attend Smith College in 1950.
While at Smith, Plath received many awards in regard to the poetry that she had written. After winning the Mademoiselle fiction contest, the popular magazine offered Plath a place on their editorial board. While working with Mademoiselle, Plath was forced to focus on writing fashion columns and partying with fellow glamour writers. Gradually these aspects of her life began to appear in her poetry with a startlingly flippant tone. After returning from New York, Plath disappeared into a heavily publicized six month crash. She was found in the crawl space beneath her home, and was subjected to various forms of therapy. Once she was deemed well enough to return to college, Plath went back to Smith to carry out her senior year. Not long after graduating from Smith, Cambridge University offered Plath their Fulbright scholarship. This granted full tuition for Plath’s pursuit of a PhD in the major of her choosing. She accepted and moved to England to pursue a further education. While attending Cambridge, Plath met and married the English poet Ted Hughes.
In the beginning, life was grand for the newlyweds. The two poets moved back to the states after finishing school and served as idea springboards for each other. Plath became a professor at Smith, but quit after only a year of teaching to write full-time. Unfortunately this path did not end in fruition. Plath suffered from writer’s block and depression that left her in yet another bleak period of her life. In order...