An Analysis of “Mirror” by Sylvia Plath

Before reading the poem, I assumed that the poem “Mirror,” by Sylvia Plath, discussed matters related to reflection- whether it be in the literal sense or as introspection. The title gives an indication as to who the speaker is in the poem. One can understand why this poem, which teaches about the value of an unbiased perspective that seeks the whole truth, is centered around the perspective of an object that plainly reflects all that it is presented with. Having read the poem, I realized that the poem speaks more about perceiving matters in an unfiltered manner than about reflection on what one perceives. 

The poem, “Mirror” by Silvia Plath, teaches one to absorb the details that surround him or her in its raw and unfiltered form. Like a mirror, one must reject “love [and] dislike”, to have the ability to see without bias. The second stanza of the poem teaches that one must not settle on artificial alternatives to the truth. The moon and candles cannot provide their own light just as a lie cannot provide satisfaction. Both stanzas warn against allowing an external or internal factor to take over one’s existence. The mirror and the woman, being focused on the pink wall and sadness respectively,  lost themselves to the object of their focus.  

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An Analysis of “The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy

A possible intention that Thomas Hardy had in writing his poem, “The Man He Killed,” is discussing the absurdity of war. The poet reflects upon having shot someone who could have been his friend had their respective countries not assigned the pair as foes. A potential interpretation of this poem is that the poet is a war survivor who advocates against war. The poet humanizes his enemy- whom the war dehumanized- by imagining that he enlisted in the army for the same reason that the poet did: out of desperate need for money. 

The poem diminishes the glory associated with being a war survivor. It exposes war for attempting to justify murder in the name of a country. Hardy does this using the perspective of a war survivor who lives with the regret of having shot a stranger. The poem also teaches that the people that a soldier kills in war are not really his enemies. This is heavily emphasized with the idea of buying this supposed foe a drink in an alternate circumstance. One would be inclined to support the antiwar agenda after having read this poem.  

All rights reserved © 2019 Josephine Joyil