"Mirror" is a poem about self-realization, despair but also truth. Through Sylvia Plath's strong female point of view, the reality of external beauty and youthfulness are valued above most things through the reflections of mirrors. Through her vivid use of literary devices such as metaphor, simile and personification, the reader is able to relate and visualize the feelings felt through the truthfulness of the mirror image and the outcome of deterioration of the body through age. This poem gives the insight into the inner turmoil of women in a society based on physical appearance and the effects taken.
The metaphor of "the eye of a little god, four-cornered" associates itself with gods who are omniscient, all powering and ingenuous. In connection the mirror is stating itself to be a small god and having a controlling and dominant hold on their lives affecting their confidence and attitudes. This powering force is not "cruel" but "only truthful" causing much distress on a woman and her perfection in today's society when in actuality she should take it for what its worth instead of trying to hide her flaws. This shows the power and hold this "little god" has on the women in nature.
The mirror is provided with an identity using personification through words such as "I", human traits such as a heart, and adjectives such as "exact", "not cruel" but "truthful" and with no "preconceptions." Through these personalities the mirror is given an animate individuality that can exert power over others. .
In the last lines the simile of "an old woman/ Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish" is comparing the mirror to the reflection off the lake. Not satisfied with what she sees, the woman is like a terrible fish. She cannot accept the fact that through her continual look into mirror her age becomes more and more visible through physical characteristics. These resulting facts drive the woman into depression and feelings of solitude not wanting to be seen for her elderly appearances.