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Paper Topic:

Plath Hughes poetry reading


Professor /Instructor



Poetry and the Marriage of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

In the introduction of her book Her Husband : Hughes and Plath - a Marriage (2003 , Diane Wood Middlebrook wrote that poetry had brought Hughes and Plath together , and poetry had kept them together (Middlebrook , n . pag . Indeed , the marriage of poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes is best described as a union of two talented but volatile personalities who both competed with and complemented one another through poetry . But this observation was often ignored due to

the overly simplistic accounts of their marriage , especially those that focused on the period shortly before and after Plath 's death . Hughes is almost always depicted in these explanations as a philandering womanizer , while Plath is shown as a clingy and overly paranoid wife (St . Clair , n pag

The life of Sylvia Plath has often been presented as the struggle of a brilliant mind against madness . Plath was an excellent student graduating summa cum laude from Smith College in 1955 and obtaining a Fulbright scholarship to Cambridge University shortly afterwards . A gifted writer , she published her poems in magazines and won literary awards since her teenage years . However , these accomplishments were overshadowed by her battle with mental illness (MSN Encarta , n . pag

Plath began to experience episodes of depression , insomnia and suicidal thoughts during her youth , all of which were possibly triggered by her father 's demise when she was only eight years old . In her junior year in college in 1953 , Plath tried to kill herself by hiding under her house and overdosing on sleeping pills . She was afterwards confined in a mental institution for six months , where she was subjected to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT . Plath 's later writings made a constant reference to her experiences with this treatment (MSN Encarta , n . pag

Plath made a temporary recovery in January 1954 , allowing her to graduate from college and pursue further studies in England . While in Cambridge , she met Ted Hughes . Despite warnings from friends about his fickleness in relationships , Hughes and Plath fell in love with each other and got married in 1956 (Neurotic Poets , n . pag . Their first child , Frieda , was born in 1960 , followed by Nicholas in 1962 (MSN Encarta , n . pag

At first , Plath and Hughes enjoyed a happy marriage . Theirs was a relationship that was fueled by their joint passion for poetry (John-Steiner , 136 . For Plath , Hughes was not just a husband - he was a father figure who can fill the void caused by the premature death of her real father . She revealed this sentiment in an undated letter to her mother , Aurelia

We read , we discuss poems we discover , talk , analyze - we continually fascinate each

other . It is heaven to have someone like Ted who is so kind and honest and brilliant

always stimulating me to think , draw and write . He is better than any teacher , he even

fills somehow that huge , sad hole I felt in having no father (137

As a result...

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