The Life of Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath wrote many amazing poems and stories, had a good family and seemed to have a normal happy life. Despite all of these things, on the inside she was fighting severe depression.

From this depression she pulled most of her creativity for her writing, her stories being mostly about the hardships of life and very controversial topics for women. Sylvia’s early life and her adult life had a great impact on all of the stories and poems she wrote. Even after death, she still influenced the literary community and her writings continued to be published. Sylvia Plath was born on October 27, 1932 in Boston Massachusetts. Her mother was Aurelia Schober, a master’s students at Boston University, and her father was Otto Plath, her mother’s professor. For the early years of her life she had a normal family and life but in 1940, when she was eight years old, her father died because of complications from his diabetes (Sylvia Plath).

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When she was in high school she was a very successful student, winning many awards and having numerous stories published and poems in national magazines (Sylvia Plath). Her first national publication was in 1950, in the Christian Science Monitor(Sylvia Plath). Because of her talent in school she was given a scholarship to Smith College where she continued to show how gifted of a student she was. She also continued to win awards like the Mademoiselle fiction contest (Sylvia Plath). During her undergraduate years she began to suffer from a severe case of depression and she started keeping journals where she wrote what the depression was causing her to feel.

In one of her journals that was found she wrote on June, 20 1958, “It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous positive and despairing negative-whichever is running at the moment dominates my life, floods it” (Sylvia Plath). It was then in August of 1953, at the age of 19, she attempted to kill herself for the first time by swallowing sleeping pills. As she grew up her life seemed to get better but she continued to suffer in secret. After her recovery from her suicide attempt, Sylvia was able to graduate from Smith University. She then moved to Cambridge, England in 1955 (Sylvia Plath).

In 1956, it was at a party she attended that she met Ted Hughes, another famous writer and poet. She began seeing more of Hughes and they began dating, later getting married on June, 16 1956 (Sylvia Plath). Sylvia and Hughes moved back to Massachusetts in 1957, but they ended up moving back to England shortly after. In 1960, her first collection of poems, Colossus, was published in England and then two years later published in the United States (Sylvia Plath). Then in 1960 she had the couple’s first child, a daughter named Frieda Rebecca Hughes, and she had their son, Nicholas Hughes, in 1962 (Sylvia Plath).

Then in 1962, shortly after the birth of their son, Hughes left Sylvia for Assia Gutmann Wevill (Sylvia Plath). Plath continued to write, publishing one of her most vivid and infamous poems, “Daddy,” on October 12 1962, which was heavily influenced by her father’s death (Sylvia Plath). She also published an autobiographical novel in 1963 called The Bell Jar. After her marriage crumbled, she was left with not only two young children but also a huge burst of creativity which caused her to publish the poems in her book Ariel. Shortly after the publication of her book, Plath was found dead in her home on February 11, 1963 (Sylvia Plath).

It was later determined that she had committed suicide by inhaling gas from her kitchen oven. Plath was only 30 years old when she died, leaving behind two small children and many unpublished stories and poems that no one knew about. After Plath died, her kids, who had been living with her, were given to Ted Hughes to raise. After she died, he was also named her literary executor, publishing the stories of hers that he found in her home and also publishing her journals (Sylvia Plath. biography). This was very devastating to most of Plath’s supporters because they saw Hughes as an unfaithful husband and some were afraid that he would destroy her original writings and try and make her look bad.

Found among all of her stories and poems was the first and only children’s book she wrote, The It-Doesn’t-Matter Suit (Sylvia Plath. biography). This children’s book was published right away and it did very well in ratings. Joyce Carol Oates later wrote in the New York Times Book Review about Plath, describing her as “one of the most celebrated and controversial of postwar poets writing in English” (Sylvia Plath. biography).

Despite Plath’s difficult childhood and her battle with her depression, she wrote numerous poems and stories that people continue to read and study. Because of all her childhood trials and adulthood problems, she was able to pull from that and use the burst of creativity to write so many great stories. Even though she had all kinds of awards and she was so liked she still suffered from her depression and in the end decided it would be easier to take her own life than continue to suffer. Sylvia Plath was one of the most admired poets of the twentieth century and she is still influencing the literary community with her controversial stories and her tales of all her hardships. “Sylvia Plath.” POETS.

org. Academy of American Poets. 2004. Web. 18 February 2014.

“Sylvia Plath.” Poetry Foundation.

2014. Web. 18 February 2014. “Sylvia Plath.

biography.” Bio.True Story. A&E Networks. 2014.

Web. 18 February 2014.