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The Image Looking Back

2 Pages 560 Words

The Image Looking Back

The poem “Mirror” is wrapped up in the idea of reflections. The author Sylvia Plath uses reflections to explore images that are not always pleasant. Plath examines the shortcomings and self-esteem issues that all people encounter time and again upon reflection. Looking at an image of ones’ self often brings questions of self worth and approval. The mirror and the lake as used by Plath are both effective ways of revealing her self-esteem issues by their constant reminder of faults in appearance and life, their brutal honesty about the aging process, and their ability to show the distorted way we tend to see ourselves.
The mirror hangs as a constant reminder of our faults. It does not care that we have feelings, needs, or emotions. The mirror does not lie, no matter how long we stare at our reflection the image will not change. The mirror shows us each wrinkle as a cut into our once innocent beauty. The reflections that we see often bring us memories of hardships and pain we may have endured along the way. A bad haircut or severe acne as an adolescent that brought laughter and ridicule from our peers. The mirror reflects hair out of place like all the things that have gone astray in our lives. Looking at that unruly hair that no matter what will not fall into place brings an image to all the things we cannot control in our lives. The bills always exceed the income, loved ones will die, marriages will fail, and we shall all grow old.
The aging process can be brutal and there is nothing like true reflection to point that out. The way Plath uses the lake to demonstrate this is very powerful. “In me she has drowned a young girl”(line 17) creates the notion that she is feeling old and useless. The young girl she had once been is now dead along with many hopes and plans that were made for the future. Looking at one’s aged and tired reflection one can no longer see the young vigorously a...

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