Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath – Personal profile

Sylvia Plath born in Boston, America, (October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963) was a short story writer, novelist and poet. Before being acclaimed as a writer and poet, she studied at the University of Cambridge, Newnham College and Smith College where she excelled academically. In 1956 she married Ted Hughes a fellow poet who she met in Cambridge at a party on February 25, 1956. She lived in United States and later on in England. Together they had two children Nicholas and Frieda, after which in 1962 Sylvia separated from her husband. All through adult life she remained clinically depressed, took electroconvulsive therapy treatment many times and in 1963, she committed suicide.

Literary contribution

Sylvia Plath, the American novelist and poet is well known for her works preoccupied with self destruction, death and alienation. Her first short story for the Seventeen Magazine and a poem for The Christian Science Monitor, were the first literary contests she took part in while she was schooling. The Colossus, her first collection of poems were published in 1960. In 1963, The Bell Jar, a novel describing attempted suicide, mental breakdown and eventual recovery was published under the pseudonym “Victoria Lucas”. Growth of a enthusiastic and devoted following of scholars and readers sparked after her collection of poems called Ariel were published in 1965.

Writing Style

Autobiographical approach is intensely emotional and powerful in her work. Sylvia Plath’s personal experiences, mental illness, depression and pain have influenced her writing. She changed literature forever with her love for writing. Her life was greatly influenced with her passion for words. In a more abstract and not so straightforward way, this short story writer, novelist and poet expressed herself.

Significant themes

Themes of her poems are negative in nature with topics like issues of patriarchal societies, anguish, death and war. By becoming the thing-in-itself, she has been able to overcome the tension between the thing-in-itself and the perceiver, literally. To explain herself, she used history, unsatisfactory experiences, inner turmoil, cynicism and has also linked the grand theme of womanhood with destiny of modern civilization.


A collection of correspondence of Plath between the years 1960 and 1963 reveal that one source of her inner turmoil was with her relationship with her mother.  Her unguarded personal commentary on marriage, college years, children, friendships,