Edgar Allen Poe once described sleep as “those little slices of death,” and in some ways I feel Sylvia Plath’s Mad Girl would feel similar. Humans’ eyesight is our primary sense, and cutting that off limits us to sensory input ranging the length of our arms (a bit farther, if your hearing is good). The narrator of “Mad Girl’s Love Song” loses the entire world every time she closes her eyes, though perhaps her world is encompassed by the man she loves, or who made her to love him. So it is that by closing her eyes, she loses sight of her love, but he may have been made up in the first place and thus only a part of her imagination from the start.
It could be that she fell in love with a different version of the man who loved her: one who was shaped and changed by her imagination and made impossibly better than the reality. Romeo, at the beginning of his iconic role, was shown to be in love with the idea of being in love. Perhaps this Mad Girl was not so mad after all, but lovestruck. Though, I suppose that is a madness after a fashion.
Tags: also late