Sylvia Plath?S ?Mirror? Essay, Research Paper
The Burden of Acceptance
Sylvia Plath’s “Mirror,” shows a truly thoughtful look into the different sights and feelings a mirror would have if it were a live conscious being, unable to lie. By showing the thoughts and emotions that a mirror would emit, Plath makes you look inward towards how you present yourself not only to your mirror but also to yourself. This is an eye-opening poem because of its truthful descriptions of the relationship between the inner feelings of people and how their outward appearances that they portray of themselves affect them in and out of the public realm. Examples of this are put throughout the poem “Mirror,” and can be found in just about every line of the poem.
In the beginning of “Mirror,” the mirror states that it has no preconceptions and whatever it sees it takes in automatically, meaning that it’s unbiased in every way. It is not a vessel to be cruel, but to only to be truthful and like that of an “eye of a little god.” By saying this, Plath is telling the reader that a mirror, although it can be thought of as mocking and humiliative, is nothing but a mirror image. This shows us that the only discrepancy that we see in a mirror is not made by the mirror, but is created by our own psyche, self-conscience, and self-perceptions. All a mirror is, is a projection of what we think and feel about ourselves, may it be an image that comes from another’s perceptions of us or not. In any aspect, a mirror is just that, it is our own perception of ourselves, no matter how we may actually look like in the mirror.
The next section of the poem introduces a woman into the life of the mirror. She looks toward the mirror seeking to find what she truly wants to discover (beauty), and the mirror truthfully reflects back to her what it sees. She turns from the reflection as if to look for the “truth” in something else, not excepting what she has just seen. Unable to find it, the mirror sees her agitation and depression after seeing her true self within it. She is always looking into the mirror to make sure everything is perfect and to put everything in it’s place, so to speak. In this the mirror, as the years seemingly pass, sees the young girl transform from her youth into an old woman and lose all that she has fretted over and over about throughout her life. Each day, she is reminded by the mirror of her lost youth and beauty that was once projected back at her so faithfully.
The mirror in the poem is a representation of the truths in life, that as a person, is difficult to come to terms with in one’s self. The woman’s view of herself and her reluctance to accept her natural and God-given beauty, shows how we all (as a society or as an individual) find it hard to accept ourselves for who we truly are. How we try to make ourselves into a conformed object of “popular beauty” based upon our outward appearance, instead of going by how our personal feelings that come from within us. The mirror, like “the eye of a little god,” shows us all what and who we truly are no matter how much we fight to deny what it’s telling us. In the end we all must come to face the facts about who we are and how we must accept and come to grips with it before our socially forced ideals consume us forever in a world of self-loathing.