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A Comparative Analysis between Plath’s ‘Mirror’ and Wimbrow’s ‘The Guy in the Glass’ poems : Part 3

By Jennyfer Laurencia

a 5th Semester student

Poem3

B. Poetic Voice

Persona


From the first-person perspective, the persona of the poem, MIRROR, presents an elaborate description of itself, as well as its surrounding.
In the first stanza, it is a personification of mirror. Thus it considers itself to have no preconception, reflecting everything only as it is. Although being observant,the persona remains emotionally detached to its surrounding, referring to people simply as ‘faces’, and yearning foraffection from the opposite wall instead. Furthermore, it also denies itself for being cruel, retaliating that it is merely truthful, even goes so far as to compare itself with the eye of a little god.


The second stanza begins with a shift of perspective. The persona is no longer a mirror, but another reflecting entity,a lake. Thereafter, a woman appears. She is in search of her true self, desperate to find what she really is.Despite filled with anguish and pain, the woman always returns to the lake, deluding the persona into thinking that its presence is important to her, without even noticing its own attachment to this particular lady.

Indicated by the word ‘you’ the persona of the poem, THE GUY IN THE GLASS,introduces itself from the second-person perspective.In reference to its reflection, ‘the guy’, however, the persona shall be regarded as a man, particularly in this section.


In the first two stanzas, the persona is being reprimanded of his wrongdoings; furthermore, induced to always reflect upon his own actions. Even if he is granted everything his heart desires, and hailed as the King for a day, he must never be vain, for, in the end, the surrounding people are of no importance, only his conscience matters most.


In the following stanza, the significance of introspection is further accentuated, particularly because the conscience, whichis personified as a ‘guy’, is with the persona at all times. By not being truthful to his conscience, moreover, he will be subjected to unceasing travails and afflictions of life.


Subsequently, Jack Horner is presented as an epitome of arrogance and evil deed, in reference to his corrupted yet conceited life. By the mention of his name, the persona is, once more, reprimanded of his wrongdoings, and, again, induced to follow his conscience.
In the last stanza, the persona is stricken by premonition of some sort, which threatens him that,albeit the world’s approval of his wrongdoings, he shall suffer tremendously if he still ignores his own heart.

Situation


In the first stanza, the personaof the poem, MIRROR, is situated in a room, placed opposite pink, speckled wall.Every once in a while, faces of random peopleare reflected upon it, and when they perish from sight, the persona, as a mirror, is left in the darkness.
The second stanza portrays the persona as a lake, upon which shone by the moon. Instead of random faces, a woman comes into sight, every morning, replacing the darkness with her countenance.

Unlike the previous poem, THE GUY IN THE GLASS has no apparent situation. The first stanza obliquely portrays certain circumstances in which the persona’s wrongdoings accentuated. He is induced to reflect upon his every action, after acquiring fame and fortune with the most undignified manner, the very method that elevates his social status for a period of time.
Thereafter, the persona is being reprimanded repeatedly to return to his conscience; the admonition goes so far as to mention Jack Horner, an epitome of venality, which exemplifies corruption and conceit.


In the last stanza, the rebuke escalates into a significantly more severe threat, obliquely implying that the persona shall suffer tremendously for ignoring his conscience.

 Emotion

Throughout the first stanza, the personaof the poem, MIRROR, is almost always remained emotionally detached to its surrounding. Towards the opposite wall, however, it nourishesa certain fondness, or unrequited feelings of some sort.In the second stanza, furthermore, the persona unconsciously establishes an even deeper attachment with a woman. Despite all her agony, this forlorn lady unceasingly returns to the lake. So frequent are the visits that the persona declares itself as an important presence to her, without knowing its own affection towards the woman.

In contrast to its severe subject matter,THE GUY IN THE GLASSis unexpectedly light in emotion. Although the poem itself related much to reprimands and wrongdoings, it is not overflown with intense feelings such as enmity or wrath. Instead, the persona is rebuked almost with kind words that neither hurtful nor hostile. With every attempt, however, the severity of admonition escalates, until it reaches an extent upon which no more is uttered. A premonitionemerges in their place, addressing severe threats as the cause of prolonged ignorance.

C. Symbolism


In MIRROR, there are several symbolisms,which altogether represented by the words ‘pink’, ‘speckles’, and ‘heart’ of the first stanza, ‘the candles’ as well as ‘the moon’ of the second stanza, ‘darkness’ of both stanzas, as well as ‘mirror’ of the title.
The word ‘pink’ as well as ‘speckles’ respectively refers to affection and blemish, which portrays the ‘heart’ of the living; something that is filledwith all sorts of uplifting feelings, yetstill cannot be severed from the dark, depressing ones. The phrase ‘I have looked at it so long’ and ‘I think it is part of my own heart’, further accentuate the persona’s longing for life, that it is not pleased about becoming a mere observer, although its role is much more god-like.


The phrase ‘the candles’, as well as ‘the moon’, respectively signifies hope and femininity. In relation to the phrase ‘those liars’, the former is no longer depicts hope, but rather, a false hope, for their flickers generate biases, preventing the woman from finding the truth. The latter, on the other hand, symbolises her identity; something she has never found, particularly because of the obscurity of her true self, or the lack of recognition for what she really is.


The word ‘darkness’ is repeatedly occurs both in the first stanza and the second stanza. In the former, this words is used to accentuate the absence light, whilst in the latter, it is to emphasise the presence of light, in reference to the phrase ‘her face that replaces the darkness’, which indicates that her face, in its own way, emits light.


The word ‘Mirror’, which also is the title, symbolises a reflecting entity. Thus the persona is not only referring itself to the mirror, but also to the lake, which has a characteristic of generating reflection. Albeit the similarities between both, there are several differences that distinguish them, such as the clarity of the image projected upon, as well as the smoothness of the surfaces.

In THE GUY IN THE GLASS, ‘mirror’ is expressed with the word ‘glass’. Instead of the reflecting entity, however, the reflection is regarded as an entity of much importance. To emphasise the prominence, it is even being personified in the form of a ‘guy’, and addressed as the conscience that provides guidance through life.The word ‘pelt’ indicates that the persona resorts to an undignified method to attain fame and fortune, which also implies his wrongdoings. Jack Horner, on the other hand, is the allusion from an old nursery rhyme, Little Jack Horner, the satirical tale that obliquely depicts a corrupted man who takes great pride in his misdeeds.

Conclusion

Although both poets utilise a ‘mirror’ in elaboration of the subject matters, their pieces differ significantly from each other. In the structural interpretation, some of the most prominent differences are portrayed by the use of enjambment, and the framework of rhyme scheme. In the textual interpretation, furthermore, the use of figurative languages, as well as the symbolism, differs greatly from each other.

Several similarities are indeed conspicuous, after a thorough analysis, however, much more differences are found underneath.Being exposed to such discrepancies of before and after, I vow to myself that I shall be open-minded and never regard a poem as it is, particularly prior an analysis.

The end.

Thanks for reading


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