Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Plath Suicide

Strange. I always find it so bizarre when suicide is a thread in a family line. Actually, it's creepy, sad, and eerie.

Nicholas Hughes, son of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, hung himself last Monday (March 16th) at the age of 47. He killed himself 40 years to the day that his step-mother killed herself and his sister. Now that's no coincidence.

So, in a nut shell, both of his mothers committed suicide. His mother, the infamous poet and writer, committed suicide in 1963 when he was sleeping. She stuck her head in the oven and was discovered later on. That's chilling to leave children in that manner. What do you even tell them? How do you get the message across to small children? And, wouldn't they somehow think that they were to blame?

I wonder if Nicholas lived with this his whole life. Having his step-mother do the same thing later on couldn't have helped either. Maybe he felt that it was his fate. Maybe he was deeply troubled and depressed his whole life, and he felt that this was his calling. This would gain him fame or regognition, or this would surface the pain and depression he was feeling. Or, could something like this almost be genetic?

The whole situation reminds me of Hemingway. His father committed suicide, and after he did, his mother shipped him the gun that he committed suicide with. Years later, Hemingway killed himself with the same gun. Almost some sort of homage to the parent (similar to Hughes). What was the mother thinking by doing that?? Man. But still, the family patterns of suicide really creeps me out.

Nicholas Hughes didn't take the path of his parents though. He studied science, probably the farthest thing from his parents' writing skills, and he led a quiet life. I just wonder if he was depressed for a while or if it was just something that crept over him later on in his life.

I was disturbed to read that Ted Hughes burned Sylvia Plath's final writings that she had been recording before her death. That's selfish. It makes me very, very angry. I know that he was disturbed, but a lot could have been learned about depression and suicide from reading her final thoughts. I bet a lot of other people are angry too, and I can see why. I can also see why he would burn them, privacy and all, but art is so precious. It hurts when art is destroyed. Art is very hard to recreate.

For more details about the suicide, check out this article here.

So, what do you think about the suicide?


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