Mirror - Literature Notes
Please note that the information given on this poem is not meant to replace any material given in the classroom setting. It is a very BASIC giude to enable a literal understanding of the poem. Metaphorical interpretations should be sought in the classroom.
The physical structure of this poem has been altered from the original layout in the text.
4.I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful -
3.The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
3.Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me.
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
1.Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
5.Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
6.In me she has drowned a young girl, 2.and in me an old woman rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.
Plath, S. 'Mirror' in A World of Poetry. Edited by Mark McWatt and Hazel Simmonds McDonald. Pearson Education Ltd, 2005.
This is the OPINION of one individual, which might not coincide with the views of others.
A mirror defines itself. It reports that it reflects exactly what it sees. It is not cruel, just honest. It reflected a pink wall and shadows, until (www.bulbsoup.com) a lady started using it every morning. The more the lady looked in the mirror is the older she became.
- The poet personifies the mirror. The mirror becomes the persona that tells the reader, or listener, about itself. As a result, it moves beyond the realm of an object, and becomes a voice that the reader listens to. By the end of the poem, the reader can relate to this mirror's views. It is (www.bulbsoup.com) only reflecting the truth. We get a feel of the mirror's precise nature, or character, through the constant full stops or periods. It is straightforward in what it reflects.
- Stanza 3, line 12:The candle and the moon become liars because they do not give a clear reflection of a person's face. They cast shadows and create illusions, which is the opposite of a mirror.
- Stanza 2, lines 16-17: This simile compares the old woman, that the lady is becoming, to a fish. This is an effective simile because a fish is very unattractive. Therefore, it highlights that the lady's descent into 'age' as a terrible thing. She is becoming unattractive.
- Stanza 2, line 5: The mirror compares itself to a little god. The nature of a god is that it is all seeing and all knowing. Therefore, the mirror takes on this characteristic. What it reflects is truth because it sees and knows all.
- Stanza 3, line 10: The mirror compares itself to a lake. One can immerse themselves in a lake, become one with it when swimming, or drown themselves in it. This is what the woman does with the mirror, she immerses herself totally in it, using it as a tool to define herself.
IMPORTANT WORDS/ PHRASES
4.'I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions'
The mirror defines itself as exact. It tells things as they are. The word preconception is defined as an opinion, or conception, formed before hand. The mirror is devoid of this, it simply reflects what is.
5. 'Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.'
The woman is now dependent on the mirror to define and redefine herself daily. The time of the day, morning, implies that the minute she awakens, she consults the mirror.
6. 'In me she has drowned a young girl'
The lady consults the mirror so often (www.bulbsoup.com) that now she finds only faults. Therefore, she is becoming old. The implication is that she is not really old, just viewing herself as such because she sees every wrinkle and every line.
The mood of the poem is cold. The mirror is relating facts without emotions.
The tone of the poem is robotic in nature. The persona is simply relating facts.
Loss of innocence.
Contributor: Leisa Samuels-Thomas