Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Discuss Sylvia Plath’s ambiguous attitude toward father figures.

Plath was her own chief subject matter. Does she get outside herself in poems of external nature such as “Black Rook in Rainy Weather,” “Stings,” and “Blackberrying”?

In what respects is Esther Greenwood of The Bell Jar decidedly not like Plath herself?

What generalizations can you make about the length and arrangement of Plath’s lines and stanzas?

The poem “Edge” begins with the statement “The woman is perfected.” What does this mean? Is there any definition of “perfected” other than the most usual one that applies?

How does Plath’s confessional poetry differ in tone from that of Robert Lowell and Anne Sexton?