early conditioning, find themselves without the tools to deal with oppressive and
controlling men. They are left feeling helpless and hopeless. For some women, the
struggle is never resolved, others take most of a lifetime. For a lucky few, they are
granted a reprieve.
The speaker in this poem is Sylvia Plath. The poem describes her feelings of
oppression and her battle to come to grips with the issues of this power imbalance.
The poem also conjures the struggle many women face in a male dominated society.
The conflict of this poem is male authority and control versus the right of a
female to be herself, to make choices, and be free of male domination. Plath’s
conflicts begin in her relationship with her father and continues with her husband.
The intensity of this conflict is extremely apparent as she uses examples that cannot
be ignored. The atrocities of NAZI’ Germany are used as symbols of the horror of
male domination. The constant and crippling manipulation of the male, as he
introduces oppression and hopelessness into the lives of his women, is equated with
the twentieth century’s worst period. Words such as Luftwaffe, panzerman, and
Meinkampf look are used to descibe her father and husband as well as all male
domination. The frequent use of the word black throughout the poem conveys a
feeling of gloom and suffocation.
Like many women in society, we know that Plath felt oppressed and stifled
throughout her life by her use of the simile “I have lived like a shoe for thirty years
poor and white, barely able to breath or Achoo.” The use of similes and metaphors
such as “Chuffing me off like a Jew. A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belson.” and “I
think I may well be a Jew” clearly shows the feelings of anguished hopelessness
and the ripping agony she must have felt. The agelessness of this poem is
guaranteed as there will always be women who feel the same torture that is
Strong images are conveyed throughout the poem. The words “marble-
heavy, a.bag full of God” conveys the omniscience of her father’s authority and the
heaviness it weighed on her throughout her life. “The vampire who said he was you,
and drank my blood for a year, seven years if you want to know” describe her
husband and the ability of male power to strip a person of their own sen...
... middle of paper ...
...trol extreme mood swings with ESB.(Coulman 679)
While scientists continue to investigate exactly what electricity does to the human brain, they still use it as a form of therapy. ECT is administered annually to 100,000 Americans (Boodman 7). This inexpensive form of temporary relief is administered by the simple twist of a dial and is yet to be refined. These imperfections can make ECT an unpredictable and risky procedure that may even end lives. Still everyday, hundreds of desperate Americans give into these sometimes favorable artificial convulsions induced by electrical power.
Boodman, Sandra G. Shock Therapy...It’s Back. [Online] Available
Cauchon, Dennis. Stunningly Quick results often fade just as fast. [Online] Available
Coulman, James, ed. Abnormal Psychology and Normal Life. Illinois:
Scott, Foresman and Company, 1964.
No Author. Ban Shock: Shock Therapy- - it’s no good for the brain. [Online] Available
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