Sylvia Plath was a typical example of her generation, inpatient and greedy for life but this description has a bit different meaning. Plath indeed desired artistic fulfilment but she wanted to be an ideal wife and mother at the same time. When Ted Hughes published his first poetry volume "The Hawk in the Rain" she was very happy that she will follow his footsteps.
Throughout their marriage she was in the shadow of her husband and we can argue whether it was her conscious choice and to what extend it was the result of her times.
During the fifties woman who did not feel that her life as a housewife could be satisfactory and fulfilling was considered strange. At the end of the fifties the average age of marriage had actually fallen to 20. It was usual for girls to quit colleges or high schools and get married.
Furthermore, education was treated as a bar to marriage. During the decade housewifery tasks were glorified as a "proof of a complete woman." Becoming good wife was the dream of all young women. Such stereotype was shown everywhere on TV, in advertising and in the movies. There were loving couples, embracing under the trees of the new suburban house with 3 or 4 children in the playground. That was the picture of the happy family of the 50's.
Those were the times when Sylvia Plath was entering her adulthood as a woman. According to Janet Malcolm, the author of "The Silent Woman. Sylvia Palth and Ted Hughes" Plath is a pattern picture of hypocritical times of the 50's. Under her happy face mask she hides the second one, paralysed with fear and uncertainty. She grew up in the spirit of the programmed positive 50's, believing that her marriage will be like a diamond, everlasting. Ted was supposed to be a man for th...
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...d she remained a great, tender and caring mother, although life-dream of a happy family did not come true.
The whole life she tried to act her roles perfectly and she managed to, at least she did her best. Plath identified with the values that feminists reject: being loving wife, good mother, which together with writing, were her fulfilment and happiness.
Malcolm, Janet ."The Silent Woman. Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes." [www.questia.com] New York: A. A. Knopf, 1994
Meyering, Sheryl L., ed. Sylvia Plath: A Reference Guide 1973-1988. Boston:G.K.Hall&Company, 1990
Plath, Sylvia. The Collected Poems. Ed. Ted Hughes. New York: Harper&Row,1981
Plath, Sylvia. The Journals of Sylvia Plath. Ed. Ted Hughes and Frances McCullough. New York: Ballantine Books, 1982.
Wagner, Linda W.,ed. Critical Essays on Sylvia Plath. Boston: G.K. Hall&Company, 1984
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