Monday, February 10, 2014

Plath & Hughes

The last couple of months I've been reading the writings of Sylvia Plath, along with the writings of her husband Ted Hughes. It's such a fascinating story, the two of them, obviously soul-mates. Two destructive forces come together with a common love of writing and undeniable animal magnetism.  I read Sylvia Plath when I was just into my twenties and I really did not like her book The Bell Jar which I read before anything else she had written, including Ariel or her journals. I had a sour taste in my mouth from Bell and couldn't bring myself to pick  up much else that she had written. It was only after becoming interested in Ted Hughes poetry, and while reading Birthday Letters (the story of the two of them in prose) that I began to pick up and read other Plath works. I read her journals, along with Birthday letters and it became like a story to me in itself, the two stories- intertwined over decades, if only composed in life for six short years. I have the sense that Sylvia was rushing through life, trying to get it all under her belt in a time frame that she had set out in her head. Published by…college by…travel by….marriage by…children by.. and so on. It's sort of robotic in a way, but she was SO not robotic, which is where the mental illness comes into play I suppose. Plath put such strong demands upon herself and it seems on everyone that she loved, and would accept no less then what she demanded. I think if one was not equipped enough for this, several breaks from such a personality would be understandable. Leaving physically... if not mentally, would even be preferable to most. I think Ted was so ensnared mentally with Plath that he would never be free from her, so the only freedom he had was the physical sort. Plath longed to control, but wanted to be controlled by someone stronger than her (Ted was that person, however imperfect their story). More on this soon, as I continue to read up on these two.

Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes

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