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View Full Version : Sylvia Plath's son Nicholas Commits Suicide



Hermione
03-23-2009, 10:10 AM
The son of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Nicholas, who was only about a year old when Sylvia committed suicide, has committed suicide himself- he hanged himself last week at his home in Alaska after sufferring from depression. (These are my words, not the link, but below is a link which reports it).

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article5956380.ece

This is so sad.....It is good that Ted Hughes passed away some years ago and didn't have to endure this one too, as not only did Sylvia commit suicide, about 4 years later, so did the woman he left Plath for, who not only gassed herself the same way Plath did, she also killed their 4 year old daughter too, believing that the child would not be as accepted and loved in the Hughes family as his and Plath's 2 biological children were (Frieda, and Nicholas). I think it was moreso Ted's parents and other relatives that were not accepting of Assia than Ted himself but I don't know, for some reason, Assia decided to end her life in a copy of the way Sylvia did probably a final act of expressing an inability to continue to live in her shadow, and forever "the mistress".

I guess this won't mean much to those who don't know who Sylvia Plath of Ted Hughes were. But it is devastating news to me. RIP Nicholas....(he had been a marine biology professor in Alaska for a long time until recently when he left his post to work from home).

lizzybeth
03-23-2009, 10:54 AM
My father committed suicide and it's made me more aware of how I need to seek help with my depression. I really wish Nicholas had done the same.

passionflower
03-23-2009, 10:58 AM
I'm not familiar with this families story, but what a shame no one saw it coming............R.I.P.

eve
03-23-2009, 11:16 AM
Familiar with the story but haven't heard about any of it for a long while. I am sad to hear this. Where is his sister Frieda now, anyone know?

Eve

Hermione
03-23-2009, 01:05 PM
Well Freida is an internationally known artist and illustrator and as far as I know, I think she's remained in Britain. Not really sure on that, but I am fairly certain she did not move to the US like Nicholas did.

Also of note, when Ted Hughes won an award posthumously for his last book of poetry, Frieda accepted the award on his behalf and not Nicholas...which makes it seem like Nicholas may have distanced himself from his parents a bit.

I think depression can have genetics as a factor but I also think environment come into play and probably most important, the personality and temperament we are born with, that we can't really change. We can control our actions with help, but we can't change our personality or level of sensitivity- at least IMO...not that we are doomed, but I know that I am a person who could become depressed- I feel like my husband is not someone who would become depressed because it's just not in his personality to stress or worry, or feel sad about things he cannot change, he just moves on and sees the bright side...and things don't hurt his feelings or if they do, he moves on. I hold things in, am sensitive, and moody. I'm not depressed but I have been and it was not something I just snapped out of, it was a long road.

My sorrow is that I feel Nicholas was probably born a sensitive soul who was affected deeply, subconsciously even, by his mother's death. I understand the kids were not told that it was suicide until they were teenagers and Ted Hughes tried to shield them from as much as possible but also then, his live-in mistress that he never married but had a child with committed suicide when Nicholas was about 5 and surely that affected him too, to keep losing people...so I am sure in some way, his family history played a part in what happened along with his personality, and the fact that maybe he did not get the help he needed, or refused help. I feel Freida probably was the child less at risk for this most likely due to her personality, she must be more resilient by nature. IMO, and just pondering.

FWIW for those who may not know, Sylvia Plath was an American poet who graduated from Smith College in the 50s and married Ted Hughes, a British poet she met while in graduate school in England. He later became the poet laureate of Britain. So they're basically writers and poets. I know not everyone follows this, and they are not as well recognized to a lot of people, as names like Ernest Hemingway are. etc. Sad story.

PattyCake
03-23-2009, 01:31 PM
Wow, that's quite a history. Ted sure created a fine mess for himself years back too.
:( I hope the family can find ways to remain healthy and deal with depression when it arises.

southcitymom
03-23-2009, 01:48 PM
RIP, Nicholas. I was just reading The Bell Jar the other day. I feel so much sympathy for people who struggle with hanging onto this world. I hope he is in peace now.

Hopeful One
03-23-2009, 02:11 PM
This is so sad. I just read The Bell Jar too, scm. Wonderful book but very very depressing. This all reminds me how serious depression is and we all need to recognize that.

smart blonde
03-23-2009, 02:21 PM
This is just so sad.
The painful legacy of suicide, touches yet another generation of genius.
May Nicholas rest in peace.

babycat
03-23-2009, 02:40 PM
Tragic:(

mostlylurking
03-23-2009, 03:31 PM
I read The Bell Jar in high school. There are visions from that book which have never left me. I did not associate my initial reading of this thread with that until just a bit ago.

I am stunned at how life and art so oftern immitate each other. And I am saddened at how sad some people just simply are in life & that there never seems to be a way to get past whatever was or is the crux of the pain. Struggling with depression is just not something one can truly understand unless the struggle has been a personal one.

Hopeful One
03-23-2009, 04:10 PM
I read The Bell Jar in high school. There are visions from that book which have never left me. I did not associate my initial reading of this thread with that until just a bit ago.

I am stunned at how life and art so oftern immitate each other. And I am saddened at how sad some people just simply are in life & that there never seems to be a way to get past whatever was or is the crux of the pain. Struggling with depression is just not something one can truly understand unless the struggle has been a personal one.

You are so right. It's horrible. And people who haven't struggled with it (lucky!!!!!!!!!) truly cannot understand.

Marthatex
03-23-2009, 09:35 PM
I knew Sylvia Plath committed suicide, but didn't know anything about her family.

I think depression and suicide, as well as alcoholism run in families for both genetic and environmental reasons.

Also, many writers and artists suffer from depression. But it must be devastating to have a parent commit suicide.