Sylvia Plath's “Mirror” and Forough Farrokhzad’s “The Bird May Die” Comparative Analysis from a Mystical Perspective

Mohsen Mohammad pour, Hossein Valizade


Sylvia Plath’s mirror and Forough Farrokhzad’s the bird may die are two of the best known poems in the aspect of femininity, fighting for feminine rights and equality. The two poets though living distances apart, respectively in America and Iran, had the same poetic perspectives. These poems can be viewed in the aspect of mysticism and mystical state. The term mysticism defined by William James and Frederick Crossfield Happold, is a state of mind experiencing the finding of the hidden truth and the true self. Many have said that the poem mirror dictates the feministic aspect of Sylvia Plath's life, and how women are visualized or valued by men, or that the poem demonstrates the aging of Plath into a wise and old woman. In this paper however we aim to introduce another perspective in which claims Sylvia Plath's mirror seeks mysticism and finding the true self. The narrator in the poem, first a mirror and then a lake, thinks its reflections out loud. This paper also aims to relate this matter to Forough Farrokhzad's poem the bird may die, a poem believed by critics to state the sufferings from social injustice of her time, though now seen through mystical spectacles. In the poem Farrokhzad declares her sorrow of darkness, and seeks an invitation to the birds’ feast. Furthermore, this paper briefly introduces the troubled life of the two poets demonstrating the similarities of their situation and circumstances, and the effect of these difficulties on their poetry. On this paper first mysticism, it’s definition and theoretical studies by William James and Frederick Crossfield Happold are introduced, followed by a brief biography of Sylvia Plath and Forough Farrokhzad, stating the difficulties and problems they encountered, and then the mystical analysis of the two poems, analyzing each line for elements, metaphors, and symbolic features through a mystical point of view, are indicated accordingly. The bird, mirror, lake, night, water, fish, moon, and sun are all signs and symbols the poets used to demonstrate seeking mysticism, reality, and finding the true self, and also the obstacles which prevents them to do so. These two poems were the latest works of the poets, before they committed suicide.



Sylvia Plath, “Mirror”, Forough Farrokhzad, “The Bird May Die”, comparative analysis, mystical perspective

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