Past exam questions on Sylvia Plath
‘Plath makes effective use of language to explore her personal experience of suffering and to provide occasional glimpses of the redemptive power of love.’
Discuss this statement, supporting your answer with reference to both the themes and language found in the poetry of Sylvia Plath on your course.
‘Plath’s provocative imagery serves to highlight the intense emotions expressed in her poetry.’ To what extent do you agree or disagree with this assessment of her poetry? Support your answer with suitable reference to the poetry of Sylvia Plath on your course.
‘The poetry of Sylvia Plath is intense, deeply personal and quite disturbing.’ Do you agree with this assessment of her poetry? Write a response, supporting your points with the aid of suitable reference to the poems you have studied.
‘I like (or do not like) to read the poetry of Sylvia Plath.’ Respond to this statement, referring to the poetry of Sylvia Plath on your course.
If you were asked to give a public reading of a small selection of Sylvia Plath’s poems, which ones would you choose to read? Give reasons for your choices supporting them by reference to the poems on your course.
‘It startles me still . . .’ Discuss Sylvia Plath’s relationship with the world around her. Support your points with reference to the poetry on your course.
Remember that all exam questions, whether explicitly stated or not, call for a Personal Response from you. What is your personal response to the poetry of Sylvia Plath? Did you enjoy studying her poetry? Could you identify with any of the images or themes she explored or were they all too disturbing? Leave a comment here and remember that the purpose of this task is to learn from each other.