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Death in Life: Trapped Women, Freedom, and Hopelessness - Essay Example

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Summary
The twentieth century is no different from the one it follows, because it fills women’s lives with limitless responsibilities, without even asking them what they want to do as individuals…
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Death in Life: Trapped Women, Freedom, and Hopelessness

Download file to see previous pages... Sylvia Plath follows the same tone of anger and disappointment with the patriarchal society, like other feminist writers, such as Kate Chopin and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Plath writes Tulips to express her anxiety during the lowest point of her life, when she struggled with her depression due to her feelings of repression as a woman. Apparently, by the 1960s, when the poem was published, women gained little in terms of social and political empowerment. This essay analyzes the diverse dimensions of the poem that have gender and psychological implications. The poem’s structure, perspective, tone, and figures of speech demonstrate a woman’s rant against a man’s world that suffocates women with multiple gender norms, and so all that the speaker wants is complete freedom from this society, even if it means death. To be a woman is to be insane, and the only way to escape it is through suicide. The poem remarks about the insanity of being a woman who owns nothing, not even her own identity and body. The poem has nine stanzas and sixty-three lines. It has no rhyme and fixed meter, which suggests a sense of chaos in the speaker’s mind. The speaker’s main audience is society, which has maltreated her by turning her into a woman. The word choices indicate the speaker’s awareness of her place in society as a woman. When tulips turn into “dangerous animals,” it illustrates the speaker’s paranoia (Plath 58). ...
The “bright needles” stand for the need to subdue women to their “numbness” (17). To “sleep” means to be passive to society’s dictations. A woman’s identity is not hers, for it belongs to society. More so, her identity belongs to the men in her life. The speaker says, “And my history to the anaesthetist and my body to surgeons” (7). These are the male actors in a woman’s life. She has no ‘her-story’. Instead, her life is ‘his-story’. Her body is man’s possession too. The surgeon does as he wishes to his woman. The woman is a patient, passive and sick, and in the speaker’s case, too sick to struggle against society. The poem is memorable for its painful struggle against social norms and gender roles. As a patient, she is supposed to feel better in time. She does feel better, but in a different, radical way. Plath is known to have written this poem during her hospitalization, when she is believed to be contemplating suicide. The hospital shows her way to freedom through losing her life: “I didn't want any flowers, I only wanted to lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty” (29-30). She feels the emptiness of being man’s patient, his perpetual object that he controls. When visitors leave her flowers, she connects them to being given what she does not need. She does not need sympathy. She demands to be free; she demands her freedom. However, because society cannot give her freedom without demonizing her as a bad mother and woman, she turns up her hand in a sense of surrender. The tone of the poem is anxiety and happiness, which are signs of a depression. Her hands are “utterly empty,” because she is empty inside too. She has been man’s vessel far too long; she is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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