Being a Writer or Becoming a Wife: Reflections from a Young Sylvia Plath

I’ve been enjoying these posts from indytony on the diaries of Sylvia Plath…this quote in particular jumped out at me(in regards to a suitor):

“The fact remains that writing is a way of life to me… Would I be forced to give it up, cut it off? Undoubtedly, as the wife of such a medical man as he would like to be, I would have to. I do not believe, as he and his friends would seem to, that artistic creativity can best be indulged in masterful singleness rather than in marital cooperation. I think that a workable union should heighten the potentialities in both individuals.”

Absolutely, and why, for artistic reasons, I could only be married to another wild creature.

A Way With Words

At age 19, Sylvia Plath had gone from being an awkward, painfully shy girl to a sexually confident young woman.  As she prepares for one of her many dates, she reflects on her image and identity.

In the mirror, undressing, I look at the rather impish and mobile face that grins back at me, thinking: oh, growing to be a woman, to learn the art of subtle power!  As long as men have ideals, as long as they are vulnerable, there is the power to create a dream for them.

Plath did not rest easy in such power.  She saw the complexities of the relationship between men and women and feared what power she might lose were she to pursue marriage (the only perceived “safe” arrangement for coupling at the time).  Nonetheless, she found herself driven to men by a strong sexual urge she calls “refined hedonism”.

Victimized by sex…

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3 thoughts on “Being a Writer or Becoming a Wife: Reflections from a Young Sylvia Plath

  1. What an amazing coincidence! I am struggling with a poem about Sylvia Plath and her struggles about being an artist vs. mother/wife, during the 1950s/60s. I wanted to read it at the Lower East Side Festival of the Arts (yesterday, Sunday May 25) in the Poetry Jam part, at which Pete and I were both slated to be on the program–but I couldn’t finish the poem to my satisfaction in time for the reading–and I had to put it aside and read an older poem. The post you put out is so on the mark–I want to get the postings from whomever is putting out the Plath journal segments. How do I do that? BTW, if you go to youtube and put Fran Luck in the search engine, you’ll get me reading the poem I read last night–which is about the Lower East Side in the early days when I came here.

    Thanks Jenny.



    • Cool! We’ll look it up. I didn’t write the initial blog post–it was done by this blogger indytony who has been reading her published diaries and doing a series of posts on them.


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