– Sylvia Plath
•Here in this poem the poet signifies the value of self acceptance.
•The poem personifies mirror.Shows diiferent stages of life a woman under goes.
I am silver and exact.
I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediatelyJust as it is,
unmisted by love or dislike.
•In the above lines the mirror says that it is not biased towards anyone. And reflects whatever is in front of it. That it does not alter the image for anyone. The reflection is clear of its personal judgment, his likes and dislikes.
I am not cruel, only truthful ‚
The eye of a little god,
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.
• Here the mirror says that it is not cruel just truthful. It describe s itself as a god who looks over the world with a four cornered vision.
It describes that it is facing a pink wall with speckels which were caused over time. And it feels that the wall is a part of its heart as it has been focusing on it for so long. But the wall’s image gets disturbed whenever people stand between the wall and the mirror and also at night when there is not enough light for the mirror to reflect.
Now I am a lake.
A woman bends over me,Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
•In this stanza the mirror poses as a lake. A woman bends over the lake and tries to see image. When she doesn’t like what she sees,she turns towards the candles and moonlight who hide all her flaws and make her appear beautiful and flawless.
When she again comes to the lake the mirror reflects her flaws and the beauty hidden beanth those flaws.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old womanRises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.
• But all she sees are her flaws and cries because she doesn’t like what she sees. With a aggigate hand gesture she tries to dissolve the image that is reflected back to her by the lake.
The woman here is unhappy because she was once a beautiful young girl and now she is ageing which is difficult for her to accept.
And she comes back again to the lake and goes back crying.And the dark night sky replaces her face.
Even when she was younger she used to come here to see herself and now when she is ageing she feels like a terrible fish.
Answer the following questions in about 30-40 words.
- How the wall has become a part of the mirror’s heart? What separates them?
- Wall has become a part of the mirror‘s heart because wall is always there and its reflection is on the mirror is also permanent. They are separated only either by the faces or the darkness.
- How do you think the old woman rises day by day?
- The old woman once was a young and beautiful lady. As each day passes that woman grows older and older.
- Why does the mirror appear to be lake in the second stanza? What aspect of the mirror do you think is being referred to here?
- In the second stanza mirror is compared to lake. It is highly suggestive. Lake cannot reflect exactly as a mirror. The lake also suggests the flow of time and age, hence the beauty being drowned in the lake.
Short Answer Questions in about 30-40 Words (2 marks each)
Based on your reading of the poem, answer the following questions briefly.
- What is the significance of the expression “unmisted” in the first stage of the poem?
- How does the “mirror” swallow? What is the poetic device used here?
- The expression – “I have no pre-concepts” has a deeper meaning in context to human beings. Explain.
- What is the other name the mirror calls itself by? Why do you think this comparison has been made?
- What are the different qualities of mirror highlighted by the poet?
- How is the mirror typically different from most of the human beings?
- Explain- The mirror like a four cornered god and a lake.
- Why do you think the poet refers to the fish in the last line?
- It is not the mirror but the woman herself who is responsible for the pain that she experiences, comment.
- What is personification? Quote some examples of personification from the poem – “Mirror”.
- What two distinctive features of mirror are pointed out by Sylvia Plath in the poem Mirror?
- Give two examples of personification used in the poem
- “In me she has drowned a young girl” Explain.
- Why has the mirror been described as “unmisted”? What is the image it is trying to convey about the nature of the mirror?
- How does the mirror perform its functions dispassionately?
- What is the woman searching for in the depth of the lake?
Long Answer Question in about 100-150 words:
- Give the characteristics of the mirror as conceived by Sylvia Plath in her poem “Mirror”.
- Why does the poetess refer to the woman as a “terrible fish” in the poem “Mirror”?
- What kind of relationship does the woman share with the mirror?
- The woman in the poem searches for something in the depth of the mirror. What is it?
- Why has been the mirror called “a four-cornered God” What are its qualities?