Famous Suicides Sylvia Plath

About the famous American writer Sylvia Plath, biography and history of the suicide.

SYLVIA PLATH (1932-1963)

Life: American writer who was 1st published when she was 8, Sylvia Plath had a career filled with honors, scholarships, and awards. Although at Smith College she was named "outstanding teacher," she gave up the academic life to become a free-lance writer. Her poems and short stories were published in leading magazines. She wrote a novel, The Bell Jar, and books of poetry, The Colossus and Ariel. An account of her early life as recounted in The Bell Jar describes her nervous breakdown, her attempted suicide, and her hospitalization in a mental institution. In the last pages of The Bell Jar, she said, "How did I know that someday--at college, in Europe, somewhere, anywhere--the bell jar, with its stifling distortion wouldn't descend again."

Death: Many of Sylvia Plath's poems revolved around a death theme. Friends believe this was a result of the death of her father when she was a child. She wrote, "Dying is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call." After several unsuccessful suicide attempts, Sylvia Plath ended her life. She locked herself in the kitchen, sealed off the doors and windows, and breathed gas fumes from the oven.

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