Oct. 28th is Sylvia Plath’s birthday, she would have been 83 years old. Another fellow blogger wrote a loving tribute to Sylvia Plath and focused on the triumphs of her life, her writing and her work, not the tragedies and misfortunes.
I studied Plath in my college poetry class, I was blown away, especially by her collection ‘Ariel’. To get to know her better I read her unabridged journals. She was an amazing and resilient woman. Her husband, who failed her in life, at least, didn’t fail her in death. Though it does slightly make me sick that he got to reap the financial rewards of her work while her last days were spent in near penury, in an icy flat with two tiny children who were constantly ill, during the coldest winter England has ever seen in 100 years. It brings to light the gross unfairness of life. It makes me sad that she never got to see the impact she made on literature and she never got to enjoy the rewards of her hard work. For a woman who only lived for 30 years, her volumes of work was extraordinary. If one reads her journal, one will know just how hard she worked at her craft. Despite her battle with mental illness and depression that just won’t leave her, having a husband who won’t keep his pants up, and taking care of two tiny children on her own (while her estranged husband was about to jet off to sunny Spain for a holiday with his girlfriend), she wrote her best work ‘Ariel’.
The professor who lectured Sylvia Plath to us, thankfully didn’t focus on her suicide and he didn’t paint her to be a tragic figure. And no, she didn’t kill herself because her husband had run off with someone else. She always knew he was going to do that, it was just a matter of when. It would have been nice if at least left enough money for her and the children to live on and kept her flat heated. But, alas, men, especially these egotistical poet types who have women throwing themselves at him, what can you do?
Today is Sylvia Plath’s birthday. She would have been 83 years old today. Maybe in an alternate reality she’s living in a cottage somewhere at the edge of the cold, grey Atlantic where she paints and writes and keeps a hive or two full of bees. Or maybe that’s what the afterlife looks like for her, not that she believed in an afterlife. Is it wrong to wish something on someone if they don’t believe in it? Probably.
You don’t have to be much of a detective to figure out that I love Sylvia Plath. I mean, I named my blog after her only novel. I’m obviously a pretty big fan, but I’m a fan for different reasons than you might think.
I write a lot about mental health, and I think a lot of people assume that I love Sylvia because we’re both part of the Depressed Ladiez club. And it’s true…
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