The Rival Poem by Sylvia Plath

The Rival

Rating: 4.6

The text of this poem could not be published because of Copyright laws.

Rachel Jacobson 22 November 2004

This poem struck me from the moment I read it. In fact, I liked it so much that I bought 'The Collected Works'. However, I convinced my mother to read it, and her question to me was 'Who could she have hated so much? '. Often I find myself reciting it to myself, and smile because I don't understand why.

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Robyn 22 September 2018

Maybe it is about her classmate from smith with who she had to share to mademoisele writers prize.

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Jayne Warren 25 April 2008

I don't think this poem was about Sylvia Plath's mother, but rather Assia Weevil, who was her 'rival' in terms of her marriage to Ted Hughes. This poem was published in Ariel (I believe) around the time her marriage to Ted was dissolving due to his infediliity. The poem is so acidic and full of pain, that put in context with the time it was written, this seems the only logical and applicable explanation

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Covi Glez 27 June 2005

This poem is indeed about her mother, she is comparing her to the moon something beautiful, but also very cold and that sometimes makes us think of death. 'The rival' is her mother who captured her fathers attention and now seems to be always in between her and her husband, always arround. She describes her as if she were cold. Always wanting to say the last word, always wanting to get everyones attention 'great light borrowers'. She is impatient, always dissaproving her daughter, always showing disatisfaction, but at the same time, taking care of her in an inocent way, not leaving her alone and writing or calling to check on her from the States to England (where Plath was living at the moment of writing this poem) . Plath she doesn't seem to like this attention, she just wants to live her life without anyone telling her how to or without her mother being always there, in between saying the last word. This is whati understand from this poem...i hope it helps you.

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Annie Chen 08 March 2005

I've come to the conclusion that this poem is actually written about her mother. When I first read it I immediately thought, 'This about the awfulness of Ted, ' but what struck me was her line, 'Your dissatisfactions, on the other hand, Arrive through the mailslot with loving regularity..' Remembering that Sylvia's mother published an entire book of her letters home, and her daughter's suicidal tendencies were probably worsened by her mom's high expectations.

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Becky Brewer 26 February 2005

Is the poem about her husband Ted Hughes? If not, could someone shed some light on who it is about? Thankyou.

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Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
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