Sylvia Plath - Mad Girl Love Song Essay

321 WordsFeb 15, 20142 Pages
“Mad Girl’s Love Song” by Sylvia Plath dramatizes the clash between perception and reality in the mind of a speaker who has lost a love so vital to her world that she begins to question her own sanity. No formal setting is introduced, which supports a theme of mental instability as it can be inferred that the entire poem is taking place within the speaker’s mind as she struggles to determine the degree of validity that her memories of a past lover hold. The beginning stanza contains the two central ideas of the poem: perception and instability. The poem is a villanelle in iambic pentameter and these concepts are presented through the poem’s two refrains. The first refrain, “I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead”, both contrasts and shares parallel structure with the second line, “I lift my lids and all is born again” (1, 2). By purposefully creating a structural contradiction, Plath draws focus to both a theme in the poem and a view of her own: people see things not as they are, but as the people themselves are, the world is a reflection of the person observing it (Buckley). This obscurity in reality is what creates the conflict for the speaker. The second refrain, “I think I made you up inside my head”, brings instability and self-doubt into the poem as the speaker questions if the one she loved so much, the one who still gives her so much pain, ever existed to begin with. The fact that this line was chosen as the second refrain, reappearing at the end of many stanzas including the first, and is always surrounded by parentheses seems to indicate that it is meant as a second thought for the speaker, a doubt of sanity always present and something thought only to herself, not to the “you” she is addressing, who is likely the one she

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