The Female as the Eternal Pariah in “Her Kind”

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Everyone has once been someone that they aren’t necessarily ashamed of, but something they aren’t anymore. When you’re in school, everyone is different; between the popular kids, the jocks, the cheerleader, the dorks, the Goths, and all the other “types” of people. In “Her Kind,” Anne Sexton shows that she has been a lot of different women, and she is not them now. In this paper we will be diving into the meanings behind the displaced “I,” the tone and reparation, and who Anne Sexton really is and how that affects what she is trying to let people see through this poem.

The double “I’s” are the most important aspect of this poem and need to be understood. Everything in this poem is revolving around them. These “I’s” are undifferentiated, but double. All the way through this poem Sexton uses this first “I” to posses a witch (first stanza), a house wife (second stanza), and an adulterous vixen (third stanza) whose power stems from disfigurement, sexuality, and magic. Middlebrook’s whole reference was about these double “I’s” as she says, “Two points of view are designated "I" in each stanza.” In the first few lines of “Her Kind” Sexton gives an identity to the first “I,” but all the way through doesn’t give the second “I” an identity. Sexton shows us this first “I” characters identity in the first few lines of each stanza:

I have gone out, a possessed witch,

Haunting the black air, braver at night;

Dreaming evil, I have done my hitch

Over the plain houses, light by light:

Lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind. (1-5)

Throughout the whole poem we really don’t know anything about the second “I” other than the fact that it has, as sexton says, “been her kind.” These two “I’s” come together in one way, that they are disturb...

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...a convention a life, for that was how I was brought up, and it was what my husband wanted of me. But one can’t build white picket fences to keep the nightmares out.” These feelings added a lot to her poems. She felt alienated as a house wife. In a lot of other interviews she her alienation as witchery, the “middle aged witch,” Sexton called it.

Who she is as a poet, feminist or not, her experiences where what she wrote about and how she connected with the world and how she got away from her life as the, “middle aged witch,” or house wife. With the Double “I”, the tone and repeation, and who she was as a person, house wife, and poet. The very end of each stanza in “Her Kind”, “I have been her kind,”(7) isn’t just there. This is where she can connect with both her madness as the witch, adultress, and a housewife, with the “kind” she real was, a woman who writes.