Nobody downloaded yet

Clifton and Plath on the Feminine Identity - Essay Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
Summary
American poets have long grappled with the topic of identity-both personal and cultural. What is the American identity, and what is the individual within the American identity Such questions gave rise to the confessional poets, to whom Sylvia Plath and Lucille Clifton belong…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER91.6% of users find it useful
Clifton and Plath on the Feminine Identity
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "Clifton and Plath on the Feminine Identity"

Download file to see previous pages While they both appear to be in agreement on the nature of the feminine identity, their American perspectives differ vastly. Clifton, as an African-American, alludes to African themes, and brings into her poem questions about the duality within the African-American experience, and ultimately celebrates herself as a symbol of endurance. Plath's is decidedly different in its paradoxical nature. While her poem focuses on the vivacious and enigmatic legacy that she will leave behind, it is wholly centralized around her death, which creates a somewhat doomed undertone. But while both poets differ in their cultural perspectives, they both produce similar portrayals of the feminine identity as being one of strength, passion, and survival.
Clifton brings many symbols to her poem that speak to the African-American, as well as the female experience. She describes herself as a "jungle girl/quick as a snake/a tree girl," (4-6). In aligning herself with such images as a jungle, a snake, and a tree-dweller, she is making a direct allusion to the African identity. Throughout American history, the image of the "African savage" was utilized as a means of persecution, keeping black-Americans under an oppressive rule by larger society. Africans were believed to be tribal jungle-dwellers, savage and uncivilized, and particularly dangerous for their lack of Christianization. Furthermore, the African religions were heavily focused on nature, spirits, demons, and magic, which made them even more frightening to white Americans, who were largely Protestant and highly hostile to Paganism and superstition. Clifton's reference to being "quick as a snake-" the snake being the Christian symbol of evil-seems to be an open embrace of the white-American view of the Africans as being aligned with evil and Satan-worship for their ritualistic beliefs. This embrace of a taboo culture is further emphasized in the repeated phrases: "I met me." She has met herself, meaning she has rediscovered her own identity-an identity that has long been buried under social beliefs that it was shameful, uncivilized, and even subhuman.
But Clifton also brings a feminine element into her poem, calling herself a "jungle girl" and a "tree girl." Throughout western history, women have been aligned with nature, specifically with the cyclicality of nature, which is similar to the cyclicality of female fertility. Possibly even more revealing is Clifton's description of herself as being "quick as a snake." Snakes have also been ascribed to femininity as, in the Bible, it was a woman (Eve) who fell under the serpent's sway. On the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo went so far as to paint the serpent itself as having the face and torso of a woman. Thus, Clifton is rediscovering two socially repressed identities: her African identity, and her feminine identity. She goes on to write: ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
  • CHICAGO
(“Clifton and Plath on the Feminine Identity Essay”, n.d.)
Clifton and Plath on the Feminine Identity Essay. Retrieved from https://studentshare.org/miscellaneous/1532816-clifton-and-plath-on-the-feminine-identity
(Clifton and Plath on the Feminine Identity Essay)
Clifton and Plath on the Feminine Identity Essay. https://studentshare.org/miscellaneous/1532816-clifton-and-plath-on-the-feminine-identity.
“Clifton and Plath on the Feminine Identity Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/miscellaneous/1532816-clifton-and-plath-on-the-feminine-identity.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF Clifton and Plath on the Feminine Identity

Uniquely Feminine Action Scenes

...Uniquely Feminine Action Scenes Thesis The last decade has given rise to many female action movies and manyof these are successful. This essay examines how female action films’ unique use of innate female characteristics through visual elements like Fighting Aesthetics, Point-of-View shots, mash up of emotional conflict with action sequences and narrative elements like the constant use of a male backbone, the use of children or emotional connection as a character objective, creation of familiar situations and build-up of modern female characterization, build up to a style of action film that is immensely feminine without compromising excitement. This essay traces these narrative and visual elements in...
15 Pages(3750 words)Research Paper

Betty Friedan: The Feminine Mystique

...?Betty Friedan: The Feminine Mystique Introduction Betty Friedan was born in on 4 February 1921 in Peoria, Illinois. Her parents were Jew immigrants and her mother worked as a full time homemaker after quitting from her job. At an early age, she developed an interest in Marxist and drastic Jewish circles. She went to Smith College and graduated in 1942 with a top honours in psychology. She later started her career as a freelance writer before advancement into a full feminist writer. In 1947, she married Carl Friedan with whom she had three children before divorcing him in 1969 after twenty years of marriage. Her yearning to fight for women rights heightened when UE News sacked her in 1952 just because she was pregnant. Having been... a...
5 Pages(1250 words)Essay

The Feminine Mystique

...of their own destiny and not the victims. Women do not live as per the perception of others. About the earlier plight of women the author argued “…she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question—“Is this all” (p.57)? The print media subscribed to the view in support of maintaining a traditional feminine identity though publication of articles on women who were achievers was not uncommon. What does the author offer as an alternative plan? The book initiated a second-wave of feminism in the 1970s through her writings. Though Friedan did not give a specific name to the problem of women in the 1950s and 1960s, she reached to the roots of the problem that made American women unhappy notwithstanding...
3 Pages(750 words)Book Report/Review

Sylvia Plath

...Sylvia Plath A biographical focus on the life Introduction: This paper aims to give a brief biographical account on an American Sylvia Plath's life. Apart from pondering over her great pieces of work, this paper focuses on her early life, family as well. "I am slow as the world. I am very patient, Turning through my time, the suns and stars Regarding me with attention. The moon's concern is more personal: She passes and repasses, luminous as a nurse. Is she sorry for what will happen I do not think so. She is simply astonished at fertility." (Winter Trees, 1981) This has been taken from one of Sylvia Plath's great works. This is a prose from her poem called "Three Women" which defines...
5 Pages(1250 words)Essay

Daddy by Sylvia Plath

..., but also that the hostility laced throughout the poem was not directed toward her father, as the title might suggest, but was instead directed to her ex-husband. The first indication that the poem might not be as objective as Plath might have intended is found in the fact that the poem is written in first person. It takes the official form of a poetic letter to her father, who has been dead for 20 years. Although it is not clear who the figure of verse 1 has been, his identity seems to be revealed as well as the concept that this is a letter emerges in the second verse, “Daddy, I have had to kill you, / You died before I had time” (6-7). The story that emerges in the subsequent lines is of a...
8 Pages(2000 words)Essay

Mirror by Sylvia Plath

... Mirror Sylvia Plath is a well known poet with an equally well-earned reputation for having led a tortured inner life. Her poetry often sounds very simple on the surface but contains a wealth of material buried in the imagery and constructions of her poems. One of the common themes in her poetry is an obsession with aging, attractiveness and dying. Sylvia Plath’s poem “Mirror” reflects this obsession with aging and decay, which is an attitude shared by numerous other writers including William Faulkner, as evidenced in his short story “A Rose for Emily.” On its surface, Plath’s poem seems to be simply about a mirror and the woman who continues to look into it day after day. The story of the mirror is told from the perspective... ...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Lucille Clifton The Poet and Her Style

.... Poemhunter.com).According to Hilary Halladay the poem is a celebration of women’s fertility. It fuses images of nature, female sexuality, and matriarchal mythology. “The poem transcends the familiar taboo surrounding the fertile woman and menstruation becomes an awe-inspiring life force” (Hillary Holladay, on “poem to my uterus” and “to my last period” ---Modern American poetry--- www. English.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/Clifton/uterus.htm) Her “poem to my uterus” and “to my last period” are companion pieces. “In “poem to the uterus” the speaker and her sense of femininity will be forever changed by the loss of her uterus, but the poem highlights the more important need to forge a new...
5 Pages(1250 words)Essay

Feminine Mystique

...Task Feminine Mystique The Feminine Mystique is an efficient of strategies for home enslavement more directly expressed as Woman’s place is in the home. The new aspect is the sour bait of the Mystique by which women nowadays are freely lured back into entanglement that their grandmothers straggled to finish (Friedan 45). Betty Friedan suggests that since ancient times and in the beginning of the twentieth century, on going middle-class women conducted an exciting feminist fight for women’s rights. From this revolt, they achieved the right to advanced education, involvement in production, self-governing possession of property and to play in an election. These changes were an enormous development over...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Female, Feminine, Fertility

...Female, Feminine, Fertility Lecturer Female, Feminine, Fertility Some or artists focus on gender, which may havea positive or negative portrayal of the gender under consideration. Female, feminine and fertility are issues of great importance in the contemporary art, and this paper looks into the female character, Lola, in the book, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. The paper analyzes the character including the portrayal of the character, her use in the society, group of people who benefit from the existence of the female character and group of people who may be harmed by her existence. In the story, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Lola (Mary Elizabeth) is shown to be a focused...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Feminine Beauty

...Museum Essay The image shows a woman’s eye. From the artwork, it is easy to deduce that the image is portraying an aspect that is unique to the feminine population. This is beauty. The eye from the image has been beautified through painting various beatification agents. This can be deduced from the colors that are shown on the image. The upper side of the eye has a red color, which could be the beautification agent while the lower part has skin color. The eyebrows can also be said to have been well made to indicate feminine beauty. The image is very effective as a visual image. This is because it is clear to know what exactly the artist wanted to communicate. Specifically, the feminine...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic Clifton and Plath on the Feminine Identity for FREE!

Contact Us