I spent some time this morning working on some cases from the office. Yes, on a day off. Blame it on the turkey.
I'm reading The Death and Life of Sylvia Plath by Ronald Hayman. Finding it quite interesting. Previously having read Rough Magic with I believe was a very balanced biographical book. In the early chapters of Hayman's book I am struck buy some of the material on Aurelia Schober, Sylvia's mother. So much is made of the relationship between Sylvia and her father and then the relationship between her and Ted Hughes, but there is no denying that Aurelia Plath had a significant impact on the formation of both positive and negative attributes where Sylvia was concerned.
In reading Letters Home (edited by Aurelia and published after Sylvia's death) there is a continual picture of an upbeat young woman who all but worshiped the ground that her mother walked upon. But there is some indication that several of Sylvia's poems were about feelings that reflected a different view of Aurelia. Hayman selects two "simplistic and misleading" ways in which this mother daughter relationship can be summed up:
"A virtuously unselfish mother has an ungrateful and vindictive daughter who not only commits suicide but leaves behind her poems and fiction which portray the mother in an unfavorable light and go on plaguing her for the rest of her life." Or, Sylvia can be seen as, "the helpless victim of a woman who makes important demands not only on herself but on everyone involved with her." But Hayman suggests that "[both] were victims, but neither was a helpless victim, and it's easy to understand why Sylvia had so much difficulty in holding a balance between positive and negative emotions towards Aurelia."
I will likely visit the Plath topic again. I am anxious to get my hands on a copy of Ariel: The Restored Edition.