Plath: A Pioneer for Feminism

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“And we, too, had a relationship--/Tight wires between us,/Pegs too deep to uproot, and a mind like a ring/Sliding shut on some quick thing,/The constriction is killing me also” (“The Rabbit Catcher” l. 26-30). Sylvia Plath is widely regarded as one of the most groundbreaking poets of her era. As a writer, and more importantly, as a woman, Plath burst through countless barriers. She wrote about life, in it’s purest, most imperfect form. Delving into the world of depression, Plath described how being a daughter, wife and mother affected her feelings of unhappiness. This shed a new light on the formerly accepted-as-normal negatives to being a woman.
Plath’s arguably most famous piece of work was a collection of her poetry, called Ariel. While this anthology was published posthumously, the works had been organized and edited by Plath before her suicide in 1963. It is nearly impossible to read any piece of Plath’s poetry without taking into account prior knowledge of her life. Lightly put, her 31 years were tumultuous. When Ariel was first published, its effect was “one of shock mingled with admiration for the strange brilliance of the poetry” (Wagner par. 2). The underlying anger present in Plath’s pieces baffled readers. American literature was still young in comparison to that of England, or any European country, so very few poems had such emotion, and “. . . to find such feeling in poetry by a woman was especially surprising” (Wagner par. 2). It is clear Plath carried some resentment about genders and their roles.
When the subject is father-daughter relationships, the poetry in Ariel does not fare well. From a biographical standpoint, it is obvious as to why Plath had such powerful feelings toward a relationship of this type. ...

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...rt: Context in Sylvia Plath’s Poetry: Glyn Austen Argues That an Understanding of Sylvia Plath’s Life Is the Key to Her Poetry.” The English Review. 12.3 ed. N.p.: n.p., 2002. 12. Gale Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
Curtis, Diana. “Plath’s Tulips.” Explicator 64.3: 177. Gale Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
Hughes, Frieda, comp. Ariel. By Sylvia Plath. Restored ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2004. Print.
Narbeshuber, Lisa. “’Extravagant, like Torture’: Plath’s Poetry as Ceremony and Spectacle.” Confessing Cultures: Politics and the Self in the Poetry of Sylvia Plath. Victoria: ELS Editions, 2009. 63-83. Gale Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
Wagner, Linda W. “Ariel: Overview.” Reference Guide to American Literature. Ed. Jim Kamp. 3rd ed. Detroit: St. James, 1994. N. pag. Gale Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.

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