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Introduction In this dissertation I shall be looking at the poetry of Sylvia Plath written after 1959 and the common problems that occur when reading it I shall show that the poetry of Sylvia Plath has many different meanings not just the common interpretation that everything she wrote was about physical and mental atrophy Critics and readers alike commonly suggest that Plaths poetry is direct evidence of her mental instability and that her poetry leaves a set of clues leading directly to her suicide The problem is if we are to accept this sort of judgement on her work and believe that the poetry is in this sense directly autobiographical what then happens to the poetry Poetry by definition is a superior form of creativity in writing not a string of self-indulgent autobiographical ramblings When we label Plaths work as such it loses its value as art and disappears as poetry In this dissertation I shall attempt to refute this singular judgement on Plaths poetry by demonstrating varied interpretations of her most famous poems I shall do this by locating and discussing her prime influences examining her reasons for extremity and her motivations In chapter one I shall demonstrate a line of analysis which is typical of Plath readers We shall see how the poems are in real danger of being explained away through this approach We shall do this by looking at the negativity of the language tone and imagery and briefly comparing the poems in places to Plaths life Many of Plaths poems are drawn from real felt emotion as is the work of many great poets This does not mean that they are all autobiographical Similarly just because Plath was depressed when she wrote her most famous poems such as Daddy and Lady Lazarus does not mean that all of her poetic imagery is supposed to represent negativity and death In fact most of Plaths
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