Stereotypes In Anne Sexton's Her Kind

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People tend to reduce others to stereotypes to better understand them and predict their behavior. Women especially find themselves being labeled as a static being so men don’t have to work to figure them out. Over the centuries, many stereotypes, mostly derogatory, have been used to describe women and keep them from evolving both in men’s minds as well as in reality. In “Her Kind”, Anne Sexton evaluates three different archetypes women fill using different rhetorical strategies but uses repetition to tie the images together. The first stanza portrays a woman as “a possessed witch” and uses detailed imagery to illustrate the need for women to fit into all prescribed societal roles for them. This stanza utilizes eerie and isolated imagery with phrases like “haunting the black air” and “dreaming evil.” The woman obviously fails to fit into society at large, partly because she is “possessed” and does not think like other women, and partly because she is…show more content…
The stanza starts with a woman supplying a cave with “innumerable goods”. Then the woman fixes dinner for the “worms and the elves.” These two creatures have very differing social statuses, yet the woman must somehow please both the lowest and highest of people, without difficulty. Women are stuck in a position where they must please everyone at the same time, a seemingly impossible task and the contrast here highlights the incongruences women face everyday. The woman in the poem then works on “rearranging the disaligned.” This juxtaposition shows that women are always demanded to accomplish the impossible and criticized for not being successful. Women are set up to fail and chastised when they inevitably mess up. According to Sexton, these women are “misunderstood” because they spend their lives trying to meet others’ impossible standards instead of living for
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