The poem "Mirror" is strongly related to the theme of feminism. Justify this statement.

The poem "Mirror" is strongly related the theme of feminism because it shows the destructive power of living in a society where a woman's worth is based solely on her appearance.

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A major goal of feminism is to push back against the prevalent idea that women should be valued primarily for their appearance. Feminists argue rightly that women are not simply objects, an assemblage of body parts, but full humans with minds and souls that are as valuable as their breasts...

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A major goal of feminism is to push back against the prevalent idea that women should be valued primarily for their appearance. Feminists argue rightly that women are not simply objects, an assemblage of body parts, but full humans with minds and souls that are as valuable as their breasts and hair. The poem critiques the cult of appearances and the way women are taught to rely solely on their looks for their self worth.

Told from the point of view of two objects that reflect back images, a mirror and a lake, the poem shows how important these objects are. The mirror describes itself as:

The eye of a little god, four-cornered.

The lake says that:

A woman bends over me, Searching my reaches for what she really is ...

I am important to her.

It is ironic and sad that a woman would search for who she "really" is in her superficial reflection, as if her looks, destined to fade, encompass the totality of her identity. The poem implies the existence of a society in a which a woman's reflection has to be important to her, because it determines how men evaluate her. The woman is shown bending or bowing to the lake as if it is gGd with the power of life and death over her.

The lake goes on to say:

In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman

Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

These lines tell us that an obsessive concern with appearances kills (drowns) the soul of a young woman. A drowned woman is still a body, but what has made her human is lost.

An obsessive concern with her outward appearance destroys what a woman really is. The woman looking in the lake fears the old age that comes for her as day after day she inevitably ages. She calls old age a "terrible fish." This is an allusion to the leviathan, a monstrous fish that lived under the sea. The woman knows that in the eyes of society she is becoming a monster as she gets older.

Though a brilliant and talented woman, Sylvia Plath spent much of her short life worrying about her appearance. According to Heather Clark's biography Red Comet, in the months before her suicide, her husband, Ted Hughes, had rejected her as old and ugly, leaving her for a younger woman. This is despite the fact that she was only 30, had just had a baby, and he knew she had a brilliant mind. Plath wrote this poem before Hughes abandoned her, but she realized early in life what the stakes were.

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Mirror was written in 1961 by Sylvia Plath and published posthumously by Ted Hughes in 1971. The poem was written during a period of change in Plath's life; she was a new mother struggling with the realities of marriage, aging, and societal expectations. It is a personification poem with strong feminist influences that explores the perception of appearances, narcissism, and self-perception. Much of this feminist influence is driven by the time-period in which the poem was written; in the early 1960s the feminist movement was rapidly growing and an increasing number of women were challenging traditional gender roles and barriers.

In Mirror, Plath explores how identity is drawn from outward appearance. The speaker is the mirror itself, which states that "I have no preconceptions" and "I am not cruel, only truthful." The mirror implies that it is a neutral party; an object whose identity is drawn not from itself but from what is reflected in it. However, in the second stanza the reader is shown a different side to the mirror. As a woman searches for "who she really is" (i.e. her identify) in it, we see that the mirror is a far more controlling entity than portrayed in the first stanza. Unlike candles or the moon, who are "liars" that flatter the woman into seeing an idealized version of herself, the mirror claims to reflect "faithfully," revealing the woman's true identity and appearance. She returns to it daily to despair at the aging reflection; the reflection of the romantic girl of her youth has been replaced by a "terrible fish." She has lost her youth, a quality so highly prized in society. Under patriarchal expectations women are expected to be young and beautiful, existing like objects rather than complicated individuals. The mirror and the woman are reliant on each other; she is searching for an outward appearance that has been lost, while the mirror must exert its controlling force in order to build its own identity.

This tension has a strong feminist influence; the expectations placed upon women in society are complex and interwoven with rigid gender roles. Women lose worth as they age; the woman returns to the mirror daily in an attempt to find what she has lost. The focus on beauty not only affects self-confidence and exterior qualities but also the relationship to oneself. Feminism seeks to empower women to challenge this societal expectation and break free of the controlling power of societal expectations on their self-worth and appearance.

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"The Mirror" by Sylvia Plath is strongly related to the theme of feminism for a number of reasons. Firstly, Plath wrote the poem in 1961, at the beginning of the Women's Liberation Movement. The poem, therefore, should be viewed in the context of the changing roles and social and political participation of women, which fuelled this movement.

In addition, the poem has a strong focus on what it is like to be a woman. In Stanza Two, for example, a woman uses the mirror to search for "what she really is." In other words, the mirror offers a window into the woman's identity. Note how this identity is changing: the woman is acutely aware of her aging reflection. This is important because it not only acts as a metaphor for the changing roles of women, as we see in the Liberation Movement, but it also reflects the social pressures on women with regard to their appearance. It could, therefore, be argued that Plath is suggesting that society only values women who are young and beautiful, an expectation which still exists today.

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