Tag Archives: Plath

From the Box: Sylvia Plath

If we have our why in life, we shall get along with almost any how. Man does not strive for happiness; only the Englishman does that. (Nietzsche, TI 12.)

Anchored misery, misery that has something external to the sufferer as as both its cause and its object can, in some ways, be easier to bear. At the end of her penetrating essay ‘Joy’, Zadie Smith quotes Julian Barnes on the subject of mourning: “It hurts as much as it is worth.” If we have a ‘why’ of suffering, it doesn’t diminish it or make it any lighter to drag around with us, but it does give it a place and an importance in our ethical lives. Misery is the appropriate response to loss of something valued, whether that is a person, a relationship, innocence or even a rosebush. Continue reading

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