Sylvia Plath was a remarkable twentieth century American poet. Her poetry focused on depression, aspects on suicide and death, savage imagery, self-destruction and painful feelings of women. Plaths attempts to exorcise the oppressive male figures that haunted her life served as one of the fundamental themes in her poetry. Her poetry is a good example on how suffering and transformation could be within traditional poetic contexts (Initiation p. 142). She also believed that a poem must give expression to the poets own anguish because suffering has become the central fact of historical and personal existence (Initiation p. 3).
This is what she believed and how she dealt with her problems though expressing her feelings through poetry. Though what was expressed in her poems also portrayed her fate in suicide. Sylvia Plath was born on October 27, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts to Otto and Aurelia Plath. Her father, Otto Plath was a German biology professor at Boston University. Her mother, Aurelia, was a high school English teacher, until she married and became a homemaker. When Sylvia was only eight, her father died from complications of undiagnosed diabetes, which scarred her for life.
Also at the age of eight, is when her career as a writer began. She had her first couplet published in the Boston Sunday Herald, and since then has persistently worked on poetry and her writings. In high school, she was a remarkably intelligent, popular, student. She was the typical Straight As girl. A member of the National Honors Society, she received a scholarship to attend Smith College in 1950. While studying creative writing and graphic arts in her third year in college, she was a guest editor in Mademoiselle Magazine.
Shortly afterward, on August 24, 1953, with extreme depression, had her first attempt to commit suicide by taking large doses of sleeping pills. She was later treated with intense psychotherapy and electroshock therapy in a private hospital. Being rested and somewhat recovered, she returned to Smith College and graduated in 1954. This incident is well described in the Bell Jar, her second published novel. Her career as a poet and writer was not going well, after forty-five rejections from newspapers and magazines, Seventeen magazine agreed to have one of her stories to be published.
Later, it was announced she had received third place in Seventeen Magazines writing contest. Many more of her works were been published is other periodicals such as The National Poetry Associated Anthology and Harpers Weekly. As she progressed she became more melancholy and darker. Shortly after Smith College, she received another scholarship to Cambridge University in England. There, she met her husband, Ted Hughes, a British poet, and married him in 1956. He became one of her top priorities, and continued to live in England together being a typist.
She published her novel, The Colossus and Other Poems in the United States. This volume received very little recognition and no awards. Her health became to decrease, and less than two years after the birth of their second child, she suffered a separation and was left broke. She extensively began writing her other novel, The Bell Jar. The Bell Jar is an autobiographical fiction about a young writer whom has many psychological crises and contemplation of suicide. This story allows the readers to see what she has gone through her emotionally in her college years.
On February 11, 1963, Sylvia Plath had commit suicide. She placed her head inside a gas oven, allowing her to suffocate. During her apparent suicide, her children were asleep in their rooms. In order to keep the natural gas out of their room, she closed their doors, and sealed them to prevent them from dying. She also left milk and bread near the beds of her children, so they were able to eat in the morning. Sylvias poetry has received numerous of awards and recognition for her outstanding poetry and writings.
Some of these awards include a Pulitzer Prize for poetry from her book Collected Poems. In 1955, in my opinion, her most memorable year, she received the Dylan Thomas Honorable Mention for the Parallax. Also, she received, the Glaslock award, the Marjorie Hope Nicholson Prize, and many more. Overall, Sylvia Plaths life was a depressed, eccentric, and a story of a mentally depressed, brilliant artist of the all time. Though her poetry, she puts the readers to an amazing experience as if the readers life and personal crisis, and not herself/poet.