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Sylvia Plath Essay

1341 words - 6 pages

You might be pondering on whom I might be? I am he, the creation of Sylvia Plath. I am the persona and the protagonist of the poem, ‘Insomniac’. This poem was written in May 1961, four months after the miscarriage. During this period, Plath was diagnosed with acute insomnia and was pregnant. The elapsed time of this poem is from darkness to daylight respectively to each stanza. It can be said that this period from darkness to daylight is a representation of a long period of time for Sylvia Plath, stretching months. The poem can be separated into stages of my night, or a fragment of Plath’s life. The stages are dissatisfaction, depression and death. Sylvia Plath place the climax of this poem as the third stanza. From there, the stages decrease, until it reaches morning. In this presentation I will be giving my perspective of the poem according to its’ stage and also analysing how Sylvia Plath used literary devices.
The first stage of my night is dissatisfaction. During this period, I considered my surroundings as dissatisfying. This can be seen in the quote, “The night is only a sort of carbon paper, Blueblack, with the much-poked periods of stars. Letting in the light, peephole after peephole”. As an Insomniac, I saw the night-time as a bright light, covered with carbon paper, only allowing in small holes of light. Sylvia created this image by utilising many literary techniques. First she used the literary techniques of imagery and metaphor to create the night sky as carbon paper. Secondly, she used accent to put emphasise on the letter ‘p’. As a result, this creates the imagery of repetition, like the number of holes in the carbon paper. In this period, the dissatisfaction of my surrounding can be seen in a number of ways. Firstly the word, “only” in the phrase “The night is only a sort of carbon paper”, conveys that I am expecting more from the night sky. Also Plath created the tone of sadness and confusion using the colour, blueback, bonewhite and contrasting the carbon paper to the light. This shows that during the first stage of the poem, I was dissatisfied with the surroundings.
The second stage of the poem is depression. Due to the insomnia I wasn’t able to go to sleep. For the hours of darkness I kept reflecting my life like an old granular movie on repeat. I see my childhood and teenage years as they expose my embarrassments. All these events are decayed me like a buggy rose. The stress of reflecting these events gave me pimples on my forehead like a sack of rocks. The memories of my father were like an obsolete film star. Reflecting on my memories made myself depressed. Sylvia Plath had expressed this through the second stanza of the poem using literary devices. A quote that she used to describe my night was, “Over and over the old, granular movie. Exposes embarrassments--the mizzling days of childhood and adolescence, sticky with dreams…” The first literary device used is Alliteration. The repetition of the letter “O” give the...

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