Feminism In Anne Sexton's Her Kind

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Women’s suffrage continues to be an issue around the world. In Anne Sexton’s poem “Her Kind,” she illustrates her stance on feminism by reflecting on her own past, using multiple different stylistic devices, and she expresses all of this with a powerful tone. In “Her Kind” Sexton reveals her values on feminism using strong and powerful imagery.

Anne Sexton’s personal story can be found within this poem. Sexton was raised by Ralph Harvey and Mary Gray Staples in a comfortable, middle class life (Wagner-Martin). However, Sexton was unhappy because her father was an alcoholic and her entire family life was upset (Wagner-Martin). Sexton’s first introduction to a woman being placed under guidelines was presumably her mother, Staples. Her mother
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Within “Her Kind” there are a few allusions to witch trails or just witches in general. “Her Kind” begins with, “I have gone out, a possessed witch” (Sexton 1) and it is a very obvious allusion to witches. By mentioning a witch Sexton conjures up a very clear image of a witch. Throughout history witches have always played the villains, and coincidentally enough they have always been women (Shmoop). When the Salem Witch Trials were going on, women were accused of being witches for any reason except witchcraft (Ardagh). Women were generally accused of being witches if they looked different or went out at night alone (Ardagh). Sexton also makes use of metaphors in her poem. The entire witch allusion represents any woman who does not fit into society (Shmoop). Sexton helps allude to this by saying, “lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind. /a woman like that is not a woman, quite.” (Sexton 5-6). This line says any woman who looks unusual is not a true woman because they do not look the part. A few lines later Sexton says, “Whining, rearranging the disaligned. /a woman like that is misunderstood.” (Sexton 12-13). In these lines Sexton refers to the motherly caregiver construct. It was (and still is) common practice for a woman to be in charge of cleaning the house. The woman is unhappy about it and whines about this job, but there is no one to talk to except for “the worms and the elves” (Sexton 11). The…show more content…
It is also important to see how she used stylistic devices, and how she set up the imagery using tone in her poem. Feminism was highly needed in Sexton’s time and it proves to be a pressing concern in society
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