Friday, September 26, 2014

Lowell, Sexton and Plath

When I read the assignment for this week I immediately recognized Sylvia Plath’s name. I guess because a film starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Sylvia was released a few years back. I had never heard of the other two poets: Lowell and Sexton. I read all the poems but the poet that I enjoyed the most was Anna Sexton. The poem “Her Kind” was interpreted by me to represent her mental breakdown. The reference on the first two lines of the poem: “I have gone out, a possessed witch, haunting the black air, braver at night” (Sexton 1-2). I think this suggests the fearful superstition people harbored that mentally ill people were witches. People burned witches at the stake “Where your flames still bite my thighs.” (Sexton 18). Sexton is admitting that she suffers from mental illness too when she writes in the last line of each stanza “I have been her kind.” (Sexton 7, 14, 21).

The other poem that I enjoyed was “Young”. Sexton captures the essence of a young girl who dreams of her future and her longing. “and I in my brand new body, which was not a woman’s yet, told the stars my questions and thought God could really see.” (Sexton 19-21). She writes of an innocent time in a young girl’s life where possibilities still exist. Her first line in the poem “A thousand doors ago” (Sexton 1) she is reflecting on her past and the thousands of door signifies choices in her life and the consequences of the choices. Her last line is a mirror opposite of her first line. “elbows, knees, dreams, goodnight.” (Sexton 24). I feel that she is describing how adolescent’s bodies are growing and changing and their dreams hold sway over their young perceptions of reality

1 comment:

  1. Vanessa,
    Anne Sexton is one of my favorite poets ever! I agree with your interpretations here, but I think we also see Sexton commenting on the role of women in society as well. In the last two lines of each stanza she states: "A woman like that is not a woman, quite." "A woman like that is misunderstood." and "A woman like that is not ashamed to die." Women who did not fit into traditional gender norms and expectations or expressed independence were often accused (and killed) as witches