The Applicant By Sylvia Plath Essay

The Applicant By Sylvia Plath Essay

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The Applicant by Sylvia Plath reveals the characteristics that are longed by men through personification and other poetic devices. The poem suggests that women need to be visibly pleasing and all around perfect in order to please and benefit men. Women have always been objectified in society, and this poem portrays that by substituting the word “woman” for “it”. As if a women does not even get to have a respectable label and instead is placed among objects. Bit by bit, parts of the poem represents evidence for this theory.
Starting with the title, “The Applicant” gives the idea that one would be literally applying for something. metaphorically, I interpreted “The Applicant” as a man “applying” to society for a wife, and the entire poem seemed like an interview or as if the speaker were selling some object, or in this case a woman. The speaker sells the idea of the perfect wife to the man throughout the poem. Information to back up my theory is present in each stanza.
“First, are you our sort of person?” Line one is questioning if the “Applicant” has what it takes, and metaphorically seeing if the woman has the physical and mental attributes to please men. The rest of the first stanza is asking about physical attributes, “Do you wear A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch, A brace or a hook, Rubber breasts or a rubber crotch,” This makes me think that they are asking if they have any disabilities and if they are good looking or not. Sounds like a Hooters job interview if you ask me!

The second stanza suggests that women should be submissive, “How can we give you a thing? Stop crying.” From the fourth line in the second stanza to the third line in the third stanza, it is describing the perks of having a wife and how you can take adv...


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...n “it”, metaphorically objectifying women as not even human.
When Sylvia Plath wrote her famous poetry, it was around the 60s where women were valued based on how well they benefit their husband. Sylvia Plath put the relationship of men and women of that era into a different perspective. It was always apparent that there was great inequality between men and women back then, but Sylvia Plath offered a whole new light that women are asked too much of in order live up to men. The Applicant gave the idea that women are marketable for men among our culture through her metaphors, personifications and other poetic devices. This is also one of the few poems where you read it as a seller, how the poem is meant to be read, rather than Sylvia Plath herself. It is especially hard to relate this to her biography and she was most likely just observing humanity as it was back then.

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