About her Childhood
Sylvia Plath was born on October 27, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts. After living in Boston for a few years, after Plath's brother was born, the family moved to Winthrop, Massachusetts. From here, Plath became familiar and intimate with the sea. In 1940, disaster struck and Sylvia's father, Otto Plath, died only a week and a half after Sylvia's eighth birthday of a disease that was quite curable at the time. At this age, Plath's first poem was published in the Boston Harbor. In 1942, the family moved again, this time to Wellesley. This is the town that Plath would spend her days until college. In grade school, Plath repeated the fifth grade so she could be with children in the same age group as her. From then on she aced all of her courses, got straight A's in high school, and excelled in creative writing.
Plath won a scholarship to attend Smith College, a private all-girl school in Northampton Massachusetts. At first, she was excited but soon felt the pressures of college, from classes to social scenes. She then received a scholarship from famous author, Olive Higgins Prouty. Once at Smith, Plath began a friendship with Prouty that would last the rest of her life.
During college, Plath kept a journal that aided her in documentation and inspiration. Plath had a keen eye for details that were often overlooked and taken for granted. This journal became her most trusted friend, telling it secrets and showing a different side of herself on the pages. She could capture ideas for future poems and stories, labeling her ambition.
At this point in her life, Plath wrote pretty, measured poems and while these poem's were phenomenal, she did not have the voice. She would focus mostly on syllabics, line length, stanza length, and an arsenal of other poetic styles. She pushed herself to perfection, relying heavily on her thesaurus to get through poem after poem. She sent out poems and stories regularly, most of the time facing rejection but would receive success once in a while.
Stay at the Barbizon Hotel
Plath wrote articles for the newspaper and soon won a guest editorship at Mademoiselle. Plath and a few other girls stayed at the Barbizon Hotel. Her journal entries during her stay are thin and do not explain much of what happened in the Hotel. When she returned from New York, Plath was emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. She was soon rejected by Harvard for a summer writing class, and her journals stop abruptly in July. For one to know what happened in the summer months, they must read Plath's book The Bell Jar.
On August 24, 1953, Plath left a note to her family saying she was going on a walk and would be home by the next day. She then proceeded to take a blanket, a glass of water, and a bottle of sleeping pills to the cellar. She soon fell unconscious in a crawlspace under the stairs. Plath's family looked for her frantically when she was not home the next day. On August 26, Plath is found, the pill bottle was found as well with only 8 pills left.
It Gets Better
After Plath's suicide attempt, she went back to school, and this is where the Sylvia Plath, poet, really begins. Plath graduated summa cum laude and won a scholarship to study at Newnham College in England. During the winter in England, Plath began to fall ill and sunk into depression. She got a splinter in her eye which inspired her poem "The Eye-Mote. She went to a meeting with psychiatrist Dr. Davy and talked to him about everything that had happened to her, including a failed relationship.
Tale of two poets
After the meeting, Plath bought a copy of the Saint Boltoph's Review and read some impressive poems by Ted Hughes. Plath then received word that a party was being held that evening to celebrate the publication for the book. She decided to attend, and as soon as she arrived, she searched for Hughes. When she found him, she recited a few of the poems that she had read just a few hours earlier. They danced for a while and kept in touch afterwards. They bonded over the mutual love of certain poets and soon enough the couple was married. They married on June 16, 1956 and soon they moved to America together. After they moved, the couple has a couple of a children but Plath soon finds out that Hughes is cheating on her and they split up. That is were this tale ends.
A Not So Beautiful End
On February 11, 1963, Plath took her own life. She placed her head in a gas oven, with all the doors sealed to protect her children. She left a note for her downstairs neighbor to call her doctor, but the gas sunk through the floor and knocked him unconscious for a few hours. Later, a girl who aided Plath with caring for the children comes only to find that she can not get in. Plath is dead at the age of 31 and buried less than a week after her death.
What Inspires Plath's poetry
Plath's poetry is inspired by many things. She was inspired by her father's book about bee's and she was inspired by the people she met. Hughes was a huge factor in her poetry, seeing as the poems turn darker after the couple split up.
Biography. Steinberg, Peter K. 2016. A Celebration, This is.
Sylvia Plath Biography. Biography.com Editors. A&E Television Networks. July 8, 2014.