In analyzing the two poems, Rich and Plath evoke quite different connotations with their careful choice of words, form, and tone. Is there a crime more heinous than rape? Is there a single word more taboo? Nevertheless, the only actual reference to the physical crime is “the maniac’s sperm still greasing your thighs”. While creating a strong image, Rich methodically does this given that in essence, the poem is not about the act of the crime. It is in regards to how society treats women who have been raped, and further victimizes them. The title has great significance as the purport of rape is not venereal in nature. Its purpose serves the perpetrator autocratic superiority and...
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...nce. Contrarily, Plath’s biblical allusion is undoubtedly less revelatory. She explicitly recounts the third blessing in the Gospel of Matthew, ‘Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth,” (5:5). As weak as women of the time may have been perceived to be, though they faced great adversity, will eventually succeed due to their perseverance.
Both Plath and Rich put words to paper, mechanically drawing their weapons, to give a voice to the voiceless. Rich’s poem hones in on female oppression and ultimately being rendered powerless to a corrupt system and stereotypes. Plath, in contrast, spawns hope and light in spite of oppression. Despite differing tones and use of poetic devices, both poets demand humanity as a whole to see past the stereotypes placed upon women and discern their true significance in history, literature, nature, and the modern world.
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