Sylvia Plath, "Black Rook In Rainy Weather"

2008 words - 8 pages


When one familiar with the writing style of Sylvia Plath begins to read a piece of her work, he may automatically assume that what he is reading will be filled with depressing and miserable undertones. While a significant amount of her work is, there are some poems that display the opposite. In her poem entitled, "Black Rook in Rainy Weather," Sylvia Plath, though not a religious person, uses sacred images to emphasize her hidden hopes towards escaping the current world she is in. If Sylvia Plath was not necessarily a spiritual person, how come she utilizes such a great number of religious images in this poem? When looking deeper into the character of Plath, readers can gain a glimpse into exactly what the idea of religion does to her, and how this influences the overall message of her poem.

Sylvia Plath enjoyed myths. Whether they were about creation, death, or simple life pleasures, she was drawn into them. Plath was intrigued by the idea of mythical beings. The fact that there were persons, objects, figures out there that were being studied filled her with awe. She wished to be a part of it. Though many of her poems reflect her depressive state of mind, the deeper meaning behind that was her longing for some sort of emotional attachment. She wished for something to come to her and hold her hand. She had lost her father at a young age, and her marriage may not have been the strongest to ever have existed. Anything she had ever had strong feelings towards slipped away through the cracks. Plath yearned for something that she could take hold of. It appeared as though she desired to become a part of an unrealistic world, hoping to unite with everyone and everything in it.

This longing for a foreign connection is reflected in "Black Rook". However, the `foreign', mythical world which she refers to actually results in being one of religious background. Within this specific poem, Plath uses many connections to Catholicism to describe just what it is she hopes to achieve. She longs for some form of divine order and inspiration in an attempt to escape from total neutrality and worthless disorder in the world. The idea of religion provides just that-order, limitations, and stability. In all reality, however, Plath appears somewhat afraid of Catholicism's power. She, herself, was considered a religious skeptic. Though she was brought up a Unitarian, Plath identified herself as an "agnostic humanist". She never gave up on the possibility of there being a higher power, but never necessarily fell into a distinct category of religious thinking. This notion is reflected back into her interest in mysticism. Plath knew there was something existing to which she could become a part of, and hoped that it will soon come.

Plath kept the idea of religion in the back of her mind, and it is reflected in the religious images she uses in "Black Rook in Rainy Weather". Religion often brings along with...

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