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How to Read a Poem
Table of Contents
AP English Language
AP English Literature
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Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay
Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...
Form and Meter
Free VerseThis poem is written in free verse, which means that it has no set pattern of rhythm or rhyme. Yet, Plath uses rhythm and rhyme deliberately. While her lines have no repeating pattern of...
It might seem that a poem written from the point of view of a mirror would have a pretty boring speaker, but that's not true of this poem. This mirror has a lot of human-like qualities, which keep...
This poem has two distinct settings. In the first stanza, the setting is probably a bathroom, because the wall is speckled pink, and there are a lot of faces and darkness in the room. If the room w...
Like a mirror, the sound of this poem is silver and exact; there isn't a syllable out of place. If this poem were a song, we think it would be slow and sad, a lament. The song would be performed wi...
What's Up With the Title?
The title, "Mirror," tells the reader who the speaker is in this poem, though we probably could have figured it out without the hint. The title keeps the poem from being gimmicky. We don't spend th...
Severe GracePlath writes in many different styles, but this poem shows a style that is evident in much of her poetry: she writes severe poetry, but with a concise grace. While many poets write conc...
(2) Sea LevelThis poem is pretty straightforward, but readers might trip at the start of this slope if they don't figure out that the speaker is a mirror. On the first read-though, the shift when t...
Plath won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for her Collected Poems, making her the first poet to win a Pulitzer after death. (Source)Plath published her first poem when she was eight years old. Source)In...
GThere's nothing steamy about this poem, which is about aging.
Mythological References Narcissus (Lines 10-18)
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