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Course Study Material

Sylvia Plath

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  • Sylvia Plath was born:

    October 27, 1932

    Rationale: Sylvia Plath was born on October 27, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • As a child, she was:


    Rationale: Even as a young child, Sylvia was quite driven. She kept regular journals from the time she was 11 and published her poetry in various local newspapers and magazines. Her first national publication was achieved when she graduated from high school in 1950.

  • Her life and writing were influenced by:

    her relationship with her father

    Rationale: Plath’s father was very strict with her as a child, and when she was young he passed away due to diabetes. Her relationship with him and his subsequent death appear to have had a major impact both on her writing and in her relationships.

  • Plath attended college at:

    Smith College

    Rationale: She enrolled in Smith College in 1950, and despite a suicide attempt following a deep depression, records indicate that she was an excellent student and went on to graduate summa cum laude in 1955.

  • Her first collection of poetry was published in:


    Rationale: Plath’s first collection of poetry, entitled ‘Colossus,’ was first published in 1960 in England and later published in the US in 1962.

  • Sylvia Plath married:

    Ted Hughes

    Rationale: Sylvia Plath married English poet Ted Hughes soon after meeting him at a party in 1956. Unfortunately, their relationship proved to be tumultuous and ended in 1962 when he left her for a woman named Assia Gutmann Wevill.

  • Plath’s writing stands out among other poets due to:

    its violent imagery and use of rhyme

    Rationale: Plath’s poetry stands out from others due to the juxtaposition of its violent and disturbing imagery with a playful use of rhyme and alliteration.

  • The only novel that Sylvia Plath published is:

    The Bell Jar

    Rationale: The only novel that Sylvia Plath published was ‘The Bell Jar,’ a semi-autobiographical novel that was published in early 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. It is believed that the protagonist’s descent into mental illness is a parallel of the clinical depression that Plath endured.

  • Sylvia Plath's poetry is considered a part of this movement:


    Rationale: Plath’s poetry is considered to be a part of the Confessional movement, a deeply personal style of poetry that emerged during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s in which the poet used their own experiences with death, depression, and trauma as the subject matter. Other poets associated with this movement include Anne Sexton, Robert Lowell, and W.D. Snodgrass.

  • Sylvia Plath died on:

    February 11, 1963

    Rationale: Sylvia Plath passed away on February 11, 1963 when she took her own life after suffering from severe depression. After her death Ted Hughes published three volumes of her poetry, one of which, ‘The Collected Poems,’ won the 1982 Pulitzer Prize. This made Sylvia Plath the first poet to win this prize posthumously.

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