top of page

Sylvia Plath

(Credits: Far Out / Giovanni Giovannetti / Grazia Neri)

Feminists and empowered women know that there were courageous politically engaged women before us who lost their lives for the achievements we benefit from today. Today, women can rent an apartment on their own, they are allowed and even encouraged to study, to vote; they can work, create art or new jobs. Furthermore, they can chose their husband and decide whether they want to have children or prefer a pet or none of it.

Sylvia Plath embodied many roles women can adopt and she broke it down to the most tragic life modern literature knows (cf. Far Out Magazin). Her suicide with gas in the kitchen while her two small children were sleeping next door is piercing the hearts of poets, writers and literary figures. Today, a woman can create without being judged for mental health issues or being abused by her husband who belittled her and had an affair while she was struggling to survive professionally and emotionally. Being clinically depressed and responsible to raise their two children, to follow her calling (writing) with zero support from her partner, life became unbearable: in 1963 the young talent committed suicide with only 30 years.

Sylvia Plath has been a modern writer in a suffocating and harsh time. The love affair of her former husband took her life in the exact same way as Sylvia, but without protecting the life of their little daughter who had to leave this world, too. Feminists repeatedly attacked the writer Ted Hughes who published posthum the poetry of his dead wife in 1965. We can only assume what he was hiding from the world and what of Sylvia's texts and poems he destroyed, but one can underline with certainty the damage dysfunctional relationships are causing for anyone's heart, spirit and soul. In most societies today it is widely accepted that the mariage contract is allowed to be broken if one partner shows abusive behaviour. Today we divorce and there is no shame in it. Today we need help for mental health issues and there is no shame in it.

Let us honour Sylvia's poetic heritage, her sublime soul that speaks through her words and the suffering she expressed with her suicide; a suicide that challenged conventional forms of living and is still resonating with each woman who suffers in silence.

(Poems "The applicant", "Ariel", "Poppies in October" from the poetry collection Plath, Sylvia (1965): "Ariel" (editor: Ted Hughes)// German edition by Suhrkamp Verlag (1974), Frankfurt a. M.)


bottom of page