Those Sticky Pearls Just Wont Come Off!
I noticed that in both "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus", Plath refers to age 10. In "Daddy" she writes, "I was ten when they buried you" (57) and in "Lady Lazarus" she discusses dying at age 10, "The first time it happened I was ten/ It was an accident" (35-36). I decided to do some digging to find out what may have happened when Plath was 10 that was so remarkable or traumatic she decided to refer to that number twice. I realize she may have simply used this number in order to carry out her theory that a part of her died after each decade of her life in "Lady Lazarus"; however, events in her life may also have contributed.
(The website I found the information from is at the bottom of the page)
Sylvia lived in Winthrop, Massachusetts from the age of 4 to the age of 10. She loved living there because she was intrigued by the Atlantic Ocean. However, at the age of 10 her family moved away from Winthrop. Perhaps Plath felt as though a part of her was left behind in Winthrop; meaning that a piece of her that had to move on was dead. Notice how Plath writes "when they buried you" (57) in the above quote from "Daddy". Perhaps "they" refers to her family and "you" refers to the ocean and/or the piece of her left behind. Also, she claims her first death was accidental. Maybe she thought this because she did not inflict this death upon herself, outside forces did.
I have to say I enjoyed "Lady Lazarus" most out of the three poems. I know that the description says this poem is not confessional; however, it is very personal. This woman was so troubled to the point that she attempted suicide at age 20 then succeeded in the act at 30. After the stanza in "Lady Lazarus" that discusses her failed suicide attempt, she goes on to say "As a seashell/ they had to call and call/ and pick the worms off me like sticky pearls" (40-42). I interpreted this as the people who saved her from death this time around tried to peel apart the fragments of her being that were troubled in order to fix her so to speak. Don't quote me on this but I heard Plath suffered bipolar disorder; however, if not that, she definitely had some sort of mental disorder because she committed suicide. Perhaps people--doctors, family members, friends, etc--attempted to understand her disease in order to help her and this was no easy task as they did fail. Perhaps Plath could not take this life of depression and people attempting to understand her that ended her life at 3 rather than 9 lives.