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  • From the tip of every branch,

  • like a fat purple fig,

  • a wonderful future beckoned and winked

  • but choosing one meant losing all the rest,

  • and, as I sat there, unable to decide,

  • the figs began to wrinkle and go black,

  • and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

  • In this passage from Sylvia Plath’s "The Bell Jar,"

  • a young woman imagines an uncertain future

  • and speaks to the universal fear

  • of becoming paralyzed

  • by the prospect of making the wrong choice.

  • Although she considered other careers,

  • Plath chose the artist’s way.

  • Poetry was her calling.

  • Under her shrewd eye and pen,

  • everyday objects became haunting images:

  • a “new statue in a drafty museum,”

  • a shadow in a mirror, a slab of soap.

  • Fiercely intelligent, penetrating and witty,

  • Plath was also diagnosed with clinical depression.

  • She used poetry to explore her own states of mind

  • in the most intimate terms,

  • and her breathtaking perspectives on emotion,

  • nature and art continue to captivate and resonate.

  • In her first collection of poems,

  • "The Colossus,"

  • she wrote of a feeling of nothingness:

  • "white: it is a complexion of the mind.”

  • At the same time,

  • she found solace in nature,

  • from “a blue mist” “dragging the lake,”

  • to white flowers thattower and topple,”

  • to blue musselsclumped like bulbs.”

  • After "The Colossus" she published "The Bell Jar,"

  • her only novel,

  • which fictionalizes the time she spent working for Mademoiselle magazine

  • in New York during college.

  • The novel follows its heroine, Esther,

  • as she slides into a severe depressive episode,

  • but also includes wickedly funny and shrewd depictions

  • of snobby fashion parties and dates with dull men.

  • Shortly after the publication of "The Bell Jar,"

  • Plath died by suicide at age 30.

  • Two years later, the collection of poems she wrote in a burst of creative energy

  • during the months before her death

  • was published under the title "Ariel."

  • Widely considered her masterpiece,

  • Ariel exemplifies the honesty and imagination

  • Plath harnessed to capture her pain.

  • In one of "Ariel's" most forceful poems,

  • "Lady Lazarus," she explores her attempts to take her own life through Lazarus,

  • the biblical figure who rose from the dead.

  • She writes, “and I a smiling woman/ I am only thirty/

  • And like the cat I have nine times to die.”

  • But the poem is also a testament to survival:

  • “I rise with my red hair/ And I eat men like air.”

  • This unflinching language has made Plath an important touchstone

  • for countless other readers and writers

  • who sought to break the silence

  • surrounding issues of trauma, frustration, and sexuality.

  • "Ariel" is also filled with moving meditations on heartbreak and creativity.

  • The title poem beginsStasis in darkness/

  • Then the substanceless blue/ Pour of tor and distances.”

  • This sets the scene for a naked ride on horseback in the early morning

  • one of Plath’s most memorable expressions of the elation of creative freedom.

  • But it is also full of foreboding imagery,

  • such as “a child's crythatmelts in the wall

  • and a “red/eye, the cauldron of morning.”

  • This darkness is echoed throughout the collection,

  • which includes controversial references to the holocaust and the Kamikazes.

  • Even the relics of seemingly happier times are described as crucifying the author:

  • My husband and child smiling out of the family photo;

  • Their smiles catch onto my skin, little smiling hooks.”

  • Her domestic dissatisfaction and her husband’s mistreatment of her

  • are constant themes in her later poetry.

  • After her death, he inherited her estate,

  • and has been accused of excluding some of her work from publication.

  • Despite these possible omissions and her untimely death,

  • what survives is one of the most extraordinary bodies of work

  • by a twentieth century poet.

  • While her work can be shocking in its rage and trauma,

  • Plath casts her readers as witnesses

  • not only to the truth of her psychological life,

  • but to her astounding ability to express what often remains inexpressible.

From the tip of every branch,

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シルヴィア・プラースを読むべき理由- イソー・ガレスピー (Why should you read Sylvia Plath? - Iseult Gillespie)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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