“Mirror” and “Warning”

The two poems “Mirror” and “warning” talk about old age, however the poets view on old age is different. Plath views old age from a bad point of view where as in “warning” the poet expresses how lively and energetic she will be when she is older and how she will do all the things she can’t do know. Joseph gives a positive view of old age that is portrayed in the title. Joseph is giving a caution so that people won’t be surprised when she is older and does childish things.

Firstly Plath shows her dread of old age by personifying the mirror and how the mirror reflects her age and how she feels. Plath is helpless in her old age she uses unusual imagery like “rises towards her day after day like a terrible fish” which shows us how she grows older each day and also it emphasizes the ugliness of her in old age. Joseph on the other hand explains that she has to “make up for the sobriety of my youth” so her life will be more active in her old age and more carefree since she will not worry about what she does. They see old age as different things Joseph as old age will be better then now and Plath fears her old age.

The mirror appears like a lake a woman is “searching for her reaches for what she really is” clarifies that the woman is trying to see herself as another person which is not her this shows she does not like her old age. This is also shown by when she “Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon” in order to hide her face from what it really looks like, due to the dim light produced by these objects.

Also in warning Joseph is not old but explains how she would like to be when she is old

And that her old age will be in her control but on the other hand Plath is all ready old. In the poem mirror, Sylvia Plath uses a lot of dull and negative words making old age sound terrifying “darkness” “drowned” and “terrible”. Moreover the negative view of old age is also reflected by the mood and tone of the poem which is a cold and strict tone. On the other hand Joseph uses childish and positive joyful images and a energetic and humorous tone. Old age changes the poet’s identities in “mirror” Plath has lost her joy and young self as “she has drowned a young girl” so her childhood is lost.

In “warning” Joseph is not going to lose her childlike identity but gain it.

Additionally the appearance of the two poets in old age is very different because Joseph will “wear purple” and “a red hat” and be colourful and active whereas Plath will be withered and dull like a fish. Joseph looks forward to old age because she explains that she will be able to do the things she can’t do now like “learn to spit” which is so shocking that it can be by itself on a line. The fact that Joseph looks forward to old age contrasts with Plath’s dread of elderly age. Both poems show opposed views on old age since one of the poet dislikes old age and the other can’t wait to be old.

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