Plath used her poetry as a mechanism to try and resolve feelings about her dead father a great deal. The famous 'Daddy' being the landmark piece. I am currently looking at her 'Daddy Issues' for a presentation I'm giving this coming Thursday. I am a member of a Psychoanalytical Research Group at University, so am giving my presentation in accordance with a psychoanalytical analysis of Plath's work. Personally I am not a huge fan of psychoanalysis - particularly when it comes to looking at poetry and literature. And especially in the case of Plath. All too often critics take the 'easy way out' attributing Plath's work as Freudian and no more. They take a 2D approach to 'Daddy' and simply put the entire poem down to father / daughter issues, with some Ted Hughes angst thrown in for good measure. They look at 'Daddy' and adopt a Ronseal Wood ("it does what it says on the tin") attitude. In my opinion, 'Daddy' is a complex poem which of course, deals with father issues but also the place of the literature, people and the world in the aftermath of post-WW2 events, as well as many other themes. Psychoanalysis to me, is mere speculation and I would definitely not base any literary analysis on it alone. Although I do admit, it's important to take into consideration. So - as the resident cynic of my research group, I hope to give two sides in my presentation: the benefits and dangers of psychoanalysis.
While looking at texts relating to Plath and her father, I realised how much "Ocean 1212-W" struck me. The image of Plath's childhood like a ship in a bottle - something that she could merely look back on, but never again feel or relate to. It made me think of Jamaica Plain, where Sylvia grew up. I became curious to see what it looked like and found a wonderful flickr image pool of the area in Massachusetts. Here are some of my favourite images of the area Sylvia Plath lived and spent the first years of her life.
View from a bedroom window.
Perhaps Sylvia herself sat at such a window, looking out at sunset, thinking and dreaming.
A typical house lining the streets of Jamaica Plain.
Personally, I think that Jamaica Plain looks absolutely beautiful. I have always been fascinated with New England landscapes. From the Robert Frost descriptions of lonely wintry woods, to Sylvia's childhood idyll. I think that whole area of the US must be a joy to live in - especially in "leaf season".
Things in the world of my PhD have been very hectic. I've been re-drafting a chapter, preparing for my presentation and writing an article I hope to submit to an online Plath journal. Better to be busy than not though! I turned 26 yesterday and spent the day working on my presentation which was a bit of a downer.. However, once I fulfil my academic deadlines I have a few fun things lined up. My best friend bought me tickets to see my favourite musician in the world, Ryan Adams. The space in my heart that Sylvia does not occupy is filled by Ryan! The concert is in June and I am literally counting the days!! It's great to have such things to look forward to: they make the quiet and lonely times a lot more bearable:)
I'll update later in the week reporting on the success of failure of my presentation!