Sylvia Plath American Literature Analysis
Plath’s poetry has a two-level audience—some readers are drawn to her work for its sensationalism, its willingness to share details of nervous breakdowns, sexual embarrassments, and attempts at suicide. This aspect of her work has resulted in many imitators. On another level, her poems and stories, by showing the reactions of a raw-nerved, hyperaware individual to an indifferent, if not hostile, environment, provide a sensitive interpretation of universal vulnerabilities. Plath’s strongest poems invoke archetypal figures and stories in a way that reenergizes early childhood images of the evil parent, the human sacrifice, and all forms of death-bringers.
The subject of Plath’s poetry is Plath. Her feelings for her loved and hated father, her suicide attempts, her anger at the world, and her existential loneliness are described in sharp detail. The poems rage or speak up faintly from a well of despair. Occasionally they scream a furious triumph over the forces that oppress her. These outcries are direct and unmediated by art, as the final lines of the devastating poem “Daddy” illustrate:
There’s a stake in your fat black heartAnd the villagers never liked you.They are dancing and stamping on you.They always knew it was you.Daddy, daddy, you bastard,...
(The entire section is 4540 words.)
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