Sylvia Plath’s Writing Style and Short Biography


The article, Sylvia Plath’s Writing Style and Short Biography intends to provide information about the life and works of Great American poet and writer. Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1962. She is famous for her works The Bell Jar and Ariel.

Born on October 27, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts, Plath had two siblings. Plath attended Smith College where she graduated with honors in 1951 after majoring in English literature. She began writing poetry at the age of eight and was first published in Seventeen magazine when she was 16 years old.

Early Writing

Sylvia Plath attended Smith College. There, she studied English and won numerous prizes for her writing. Her first book, The Colossus, published in England when she was only twenty-one years old. She also wrote a number of popular articles for magazines such as Mademoiselle and Ladies’ Home Journal during her time at Smith. These early successes led to several offers of teaching jobs after graduation. She took one at Boston University and then married fellow writer Ted Hughes.

The two moved to London where they began publishing regularly in literary journals. In 1959, they became parents of a daughter Frieda. Later, in 1960, Sylvia Plath published her second book of poetry. The book had many poems that would later be included in Ariel.

The next year, in 1961, she became pregnant with her son Nicholas but suffered a miscarriage shortly before he was due to be born. A few months later, while still suffering from depression following the miscarriage and worried about how it would affect her writing career (she believed that having children could ruin a woman’s chances of becoming famous), she committed suicide by gassing herself in an oven.

Marriage to Ted Hughes

In November 1956, she met British poet Ted Hughes. They got married on June 16, 1956, at St George’s Church in Devon, England. Unfortunately, at the time of marriage, she was passing though the hard times. Her father had committed suicide a few months earlier. While her mother was in hospital after taking an overdose of prescription sleeping pills shortly before her wedding.

Plath was an American citizen by birth and Hughes a British subject who considered himself English rather than British or Irish. Thus, they elected to be married in Devon because of their shared ancestry. Both families were Warwickshire country gentry for many generations. For their honeymoon, they went on a driving tour of southern England.

Posthumous Writings and Legacy

Although she did not live to see her success as a writer, yet her writings won accolades. Her phenomenal work, Ariel was accepted by Faber and Faber in March 1960. It appeared on 11 September of that year under her married name, Sylvia Plath Hughes. In January 1961, a review by Al Alvarez appeared in The Observer. Her work were coined as the most impressive poetic debut since World War II. Ariel also received glowing reviews from Anne Stevenson (The Observer) and John Wain (The Sunday Times).

Later that month, on 14 January 1961, Sylvia Plath won Newdigate Prize for Poetry at Cambridge University for her poem “The Captain’s Death Bed”. Shortly after winning, she became pregnant with their first child, Frieda Rebecca Hughes (named after Assia), who was born on 28 May 1962. Frieda would later become an accomplished poet herself.

Sylvia Plath’s Writing Style

Plath was greatly adored for her excellent use of language. Readers praised her command of poetic technicalities and her ability to convey powerful emotions through her work. Many of her works use vivid imagery, powerful symbolism, and hidden meanings to win the hearts of the people.

Her witty poetry is filled with sarcastic observations that reveal a self-depicting sense of humor. In her famous poem, “Daddy,” she imagines her father as a Nazi-war criminal. She draws a meaningful comparison of her own daddy with the person she describes in her poem. She also highlights how life becomes a misery when one fails to receive love from the parents.

Although Plath lived a life of misfortunes, she never gave up writing. Despite facing odds, she benefitted the world with her unique writing talent. Many literary critics cite her starkly realistic work as instrumental in transforming literature. Her writing ability to provide gruesome details attracted readers to re-read her works to catch the underlying ideas coated with poetic elements. She was indeed a talented writer whose works are still adored even after ages of her demise.

Some of her Important Works

Undoubtedly, Sylvia Plath was an exceptional writer and poet. Some of her important works are as follows.

  • Best Poems: Some of her famous poems are “Daddy”, Lady Lazarus”, “Tulips”, “Mad Girl’s Love Song”, “Ariel” and “Dear Applicant.”
  • Other Works: Her other works include The Bell Jar, The Magic Mirror, The Bed Book and Mrs. Cherry’s Kitchen.

Famous Quotes

Sylvia Plath’s Writing Style and Short Biography
Sylvia Plath’s Writing Style and Short Biography

Let’s Sum Up

I hope, the article, Sylvia Plath’s Writing Style and Short Biography has provided a satisfactory information about the great American writer. Sylvia Plath was one of the best American writers, many schools, universities and colleges have added her works in their curriculum. People love to read and analyze her works that display various ideas and emotions. If you have any question regarding the article, please contact us in the comment section.

Read Also:

Daddy by Sylvia Plath Meaning“Snake” by D. H Lawrence

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