Research Paper on Sylvia Plath


Sylvia Plath in her works of poetry emphasized on death as the main theme of her poems. In this research paper the theme of death is discussed in detail pointing out from a number of her poems. There are several other poems that she used in her poems. However, in minimal quantity going by the number of poems she came up with and comparing with the number she did on death as a theme. The development of the themes by Plath seem to be a matter of personal experiences that pushed her to extends of even attempting suicide. The theme of death is outlined in her works as a part of his life.  This mini-essay research paper focuses on the influences that led to the themes by the poet; also as a main point to the insight of the poetry and the development of the themes, focus is emphasized on the language use.


Lady Lazarus expresses the theme of death in the recentness of being reborn; each and every time, trying to commit suicide, only to be persuaded otherwise, being forced to go back to the same old hard life that pushed her to the position. Rebuking life and its unpleasant surprises, she expresses her sincerity in terms of hoe she feels about dying. These are not cases of witnessing people die but inflicting harm to her that would lead to death. The main focus of the poem is to point out the resentment she has for people around her who seem to be actually caring for but in real sense they do no know what she is going through. The inability of them to see and understand her despair and in capability of carrying on with her life or in other terms to create a new life she could relive a better life; all this is pointed out in this particular poem.

Developing of the death theme in Plath’s poetry is an element of discrediting life to a certain degree pointing out factors on a personal basis. Bell Jar and Mad Girl’s Love Song are other poems within which she does not associate with death directly, however she writes in a manner as though to express curiosity of how it would feel if a sudden bad happening that could be leading to death happened. The things that she termed as the main motivators in the development of the death theme are life, personal experiences and the reaction of people towards the actions and reactions of her life experiences. The use of language in this theme is not censored in a way of objectifying death but rather straight forward and to the point. Use of metaphors is a rare case in this theme, as the occurrences and expectations are aired straight forward although very figurative to bring out the element of pity and remorse to readers. (Melander 1972)


Arrival of the Bee Box is an open poem that can be interpreted according to whatever aspect of life one may need to associate it with. The aspect of racism in this poem is not as pronounced as one would expect to declare it a poem of racism. The bee box in some interpretation can be considered the pockets and greed of the black people in which the arrival is at the white man’s land. The bees are the blacks arriving to harvest nectar from the blossomed flowers on the white land. The development of the racism theme is not a major work of Plath. The focus on racism is developed to address the effects of allowing other races to plow where they didn’t so. These themes together with that of aging as depicted in the poem On ‘Daddy’ are not thought to be main her work of poetry. The ageing theme as pointed out in the On ‘Daddy follows as an element of personal rejection, rejection of people and the changes of life. This rejection gives a clear path to the theme of death and the precision of her death by suicide. (Brennan 1999)

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Developing the theme of death was as a means of expressing the inner situation of the poet Plath. Poetry like Lady Lazarus and Bell Jar point out this theme within which she refers to her situation and that of others where she thinks only death seems to be the ultimate solution. The ageing theme as expressed in ‘On Daddy’ is seen as the way in to the theme of death. This theme circulates around rejection to oneself, family and the changing times which ushers in the idea of seeking suicide to cater for the personal torment.

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