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Your Name Name of of Professor Woman-centric Themes in the Poetry of Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath and Adrienne Rich The lives of poets have always been under scrutiny. Their lives have in most cases, influenced the kind of poetry they have written, both as far as form and content are concerned…
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Download file to see previous pages The woman-centric themes of the poems shall be dealt with in this paper. The formal innovations that these poets have made in their poetry shall also be an important part of this paper. This paper shall also look at the divergences within their poetry. Obviously, even though women share many of their concerns, to say that their concerns are identical would be to reduce the complexity and depth of the issue at hand. This paper shall argue that the feminist content of these poems needs to be looked at in terms of the need for solidarity amongst women of all ideological orientations, arising out of their experiences as women in a patriarchal society (Hoffman 48). Anne Sexton’s poem “Cinderella” speaks of the problems inherent within fairy tales. It speaks of the harmful stereotypes that are perpetuated within and through such stories. The stereotype of the wicked stepmother is one such stereotype. The importance of Sexton’s poem lies in its ability to subtly pint at such stereotypes and laugh at them while at the same time rebuking society for believing in them. When she says, That's the way with stepmothers. (373), she intends the reader to detect the sarcasm within the lines. This is intended to reveal the extent to which women in such stories are victimized and portrayed as villains. The reference to the ball as a “marriage market” (373) is another instance when events that are considered important in popular imagination are deconstructed and viewed as events with social and economic significances. Sexton continues with themes of relevance to women in “Her Kind” where she expresses solidarity with women of another era. She refers to witch-hunts that have taken place in history, arguing that ‘witches’ were just women who were different from what a patriarchal society wanted them to be. Sexton herself was considered to be a woman different from conventional models of femininity. This may have led her to express her solidarity with other marginalized groups of women from history. Greg Johnson concurs with this view in his review of Diane Wood Middlebrook’s biography of Anne Sexton (408). Sexton repeatedly uses the line “I have been her kind” (405) in order to emphasize the importance of such solidarity. Her life is important here also because it reveals how difficult it is for women, even famous poets, to lead their lives in a patriarchal society. The self-positioning of female subjectivity in Sylvia Plath’s poetry spans across the subjects of sexuality, history, kinship and heavily politicised and gendered notion of rationality. The focus of the essay shall be on “Daddy,” “Lady Lazarus,” and “Metaphors.” In “Daddy” one finds the coalescing of the identities of her father and a tyrannical political leader. Owing to the immediate historical backdrop of the poem, the Second World War, one may well speculate that the reference here is to the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler. The analogy between her father and Hitler points to the collusion between patriarchy and dictatorships. It is against the Nazi ideal of racial purity that the speaker establishes her own identity as proudly hybrid when she says “With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck/And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack/I may be a bit of a Jew.” (631) This repudiation of purity enables her to construct her identity outside the rigidly deterministic ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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