Sylvia Plath Poetry Analysis Essay

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Chanel Courant Poetry Analysis As two 20th century female poets who served as feminist figureheads for the literary genre, Sylvia Plath and Adrienne Rich's works experience some expected crossover in thematic content and overarching ideas about the stifling entrapments of womanhood, abuse of power, and pain as means of freedom. Plath's "Lady Lazarus" focuses on the control that comes with the vulnerability and entertainment tied to public displays of mental illness, while Rich's "Valediction Forbidding Mourning" depicts the female struggle to express emotion within the confines of male dictation, and the two find their commonality in the search for autonomy in a world where women are not afforded the luxury, and where their feelings are watered down to spectacles to be watched or immaturity to be subdued. Plath's works are overwrought with autobiographical sentiments of suicide and depression, and…show more content…
The poem derives its title from a biblical allusion to Lazarus of Bethany, the saint who was resurrected by Jesus four days after his death, and the title perfectly encapsulates the meaning of the text, with Plath's narrator serving as a female version of Lazarus, who is constantly defying death. Plath plows through the poem with biting three line stanzas and consistent enjambment, with at times a self-acknowledging smugness and at others a wrathful defiance and resentment towards the system she has been trapped in. In "Lady Lazarus," Plath regards death with a certain colloquial nonchalance that intentionally undermines the alarming nature of her words. She brags about her brushes with fatality as though it is a talent, or as she proudly proclaims, "an art." (Line 44). She wears her suicidal nature like a medal on her chest, keeping tally of each death attempt like a dutiful worker, as she plans out her next trip to the beyond, which will be her third try. She takes pride in her success as a defier of fate,
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