Voice Rehearsals and Personas in Sylvia’s Letters to Aurelia
“Both Sylvia and I were more at ease in writing words of appreciation, admiration, and love than in expressing these emotions verbally and, thank goodness, write them to each other we did!” says Aurelia Plath in the preface to her selection of Sylvia’s letters home. The statement is indicative of the necessities language will serve for both mother and daughter. While Aurelia’s selection represents a near-seamless expression of Sylvia, or more often Sivvy, as loving, devoted daughter, and omits, as Jacqueline Rose notes in The Haunting of Sylvia Plath, significant chunks of the “anger, illness, and left-wing politics”, they give a sense of Plath’s sheer need to voice herself in a cartography of growing ambitions, experiences, and challenges. They also provide a polyphony of selves that Plath in her various incarnations, as Sivvy-the-hardworking-many-faceted daughter, could inhabit.