Sylvia Plath


Plath was born during the Great Depression on October 27, 1932 in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, to Aurelia Schober Plath, a first-generation American of Austrian descent, and Otto Emile Plath, an immigrant from Grabow, Germany. Plath's father was a professor of biology and German at Boston University and author of a book about bumblebees.[3] Plath's mother was approximately twenty-one years younger than her husband.[3] She met him while earning her master's degree in teaching. Otto was alienated from his family because he chose not to become a Lutheran minister, as his grandparents wanted him to be. They went as far as taking his name out of the family Bible.[citation needed]
In April 1935, Plath's brother Warren was born.[4] The family moved to Winthrop, Massachusetts in 1936 and Plath spent much of her childhood on Johnson Avenue. She was raised a Unitarian Christian and had mixed feelings toward religion throughout her life.[citation needed] Plath's mother, Aurelia, had grown up in Winthrop, and her maternal grandparents, the Schobers, had lived in a section of the town called Point Shirley, a location mentioned in Plath's poetry. At age eight when living in Winthrop, Plath published her first poem in the Boston Herald's children's section.[4] In addition to writing, she also showed early promise as an artist, winning an award from The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in 1947, for her paintings.[citation needed]
Otto Plath died on November 5, 1940, a week and a half after Plath's eighth birthday,[3] of complications following the amputation of a foot due to diabetes. He had become ill shortly after a close friend died of lung cancer. Comparing the similarities between his friend's symptoms and his own, Otto became convinced he too was ill with lung cancer and did not seek treatment until his diabetes had progressed too far. Otto Plath is buried in Winthrop Cemetery, where his gravestone continues to attract readers of Plath's poem...