Document Type



Germanna Community College

Publication Date



Sylvia Plath is a poet and author praised for her works discussing mental health and familial trauma, while also criticized for the legitimacy of her work as well as the imagery she used. While many attempt to discredit Plath's work due to her living with mental illness, highlighted are the experiences that Plath survived which inspired and explain such controversial works. Along with critics, Plath's ex-husband Ted Hughes attempted to slander her writing throughout her life. Sylvia Plath harbored no wishes for such negative attention. Plath only yearned to continue through life with the two things she loved most, writing and raising her two children. The argument that Plath's works, which mainly themed around mortality and pain, reflect an unreliable narrator fail to realize that writing is used as a form of coping with the topics reflected in her own life. The criticisms of Plath's content are reviewed and highlight the dangerous stigma against people suffering from mental illness. It is possible to appreciate and respect Plath's work, even if the reader does not share the same life experiences or trauma expressed through Plath in her poems.


Courtney Nelson submitted this paper to the 7th Annual Student Research and Writing Symposium at Germanna Community College.

*3rd Place*

Copyright © 2021 by Courtney Nelson



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