Sylvia Plath Confessional Poem Analysis

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Sylvia Plath’s confessional poem is a free formed twenty line poem consisting of ten couplet stanzas which illustrate death as a state in which our imperfections are ignored. The subject of the poem is a woman who has been ‘perfected’ in death, having been released from her own personal suffering. For Plath death seems to be an achievement and just like the woman in the poem, Plath feels she will ultimately become ‘perfected’ when she too is dead. By not using the first person, Plath causes ‘the woman to become depersonalised’ and as a result the woman is distanced from the reader. This could possibly foreshadow how Plath herself, was withdrawing from life and people as she became more engulfed by depression and anxiety. Plath uses short lines and sparse wording almost as a reflection for her own ‘exhaustion and impending death.’ She appears to have almost nothing left to say, she instead is silently pleased with the idea of the inevitability of her suicide. Plath choses to spread single clauses across different stanzas, emphasising the dreariness she is experiencing. ‘Her dead//Body wears the smile of accomplishment, /The illusion of a Greek necessity//Flows in the scrolls of her toga.’ The woman in the poem seems to shadow the thoughts and feelings of Sylvia Plath, as the woman ‘smile with accomplishment’ at the thought of death and the finality of the end, Plath too is smiling. Both women are smiling because they have come so far and done so much, their feet have nowhere else to take them. ‘We have come so far, it is over.’ They have achieved all they can. The idea that the woman can only be at peace and ‘perfected’ once she has died. Accomplishment comes only in death. Sylvia Plath creates a disconcerting atmosphere within... ... middle of paper ... ...Sexton’s ‘Wanting to Die’ is written in the first person and has a conversational tone. Similarly to Plath’s confessional poem ‘Edge’, Anne Sexton’s ‘Wanting to Die has been considered to be ‘one of her literary suicide notes.’ Throughout the poem the speaker endeavours to justify her thoughts and feelings towards suicide. The use of the first person perspective allows the reader to feel a part of the revelation the speaker seems to be making. Within the first Stanza, Sexton appears to be troubled and confused about her thoughts of suicide. She seems to be walking through life in a depressive daze, unsure of where to go or what to do. The speaker appears to have lost all purpose in life and yet, Anne Sexton comes across as almost blasé about the possibility of dying. This is noted in the opening lines of the first stanza ‘Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.’
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