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Sylvia Plath speaks to millennials

In Annie Hall, the character of Alvy Singer quips, “Sylvia Plath, interesting poetess whose tragic suicide was misinterpreted as romantic by the college girl mentality.”

While Plath has been romanticized, to minimize her influence to her final act is not fair. One of the first female poets to engage in the Confessional style of poetry, she revealed to readers, female and male alike, her inner anxieties with frankness. Perhaps Plath’s greatest legacy is demonstrating courage to discuss her own issues, opening the door for more open dialogue on issues of mental illness. Of course, this was completed through her poetry, and her singular novel, The Bell Jar, which due to its roman-a-clef elements was published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of The Bell Jar’s initial publication. As a recently graduate with a degree in literature, I enjoy the classics, but I am nevertheless surprised with how Sylvia Plath’s literary stand-in Esther Greenwood survives the test of time.

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