Patriarchy In Sylvia Plath's Poetry

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To this day, Sylvia Plath is one of the most dynamic and esteemed poets of the 20th century. As a poet, Sylvia Plath has been renowned by multitudes of readers for her style of writing and the power she evokes from the concepts of discussion in her poems. However, most people do not realize that her all of her works are intensely autobiographical. Sylvia Plath’s own painful life experiences greatly contribute to her style of writing with themes of death and the patriarchy in poems such as “Full Fathom Five”, “Tulips”, and “Lady Lazarus”. Before one can understand Plath’s style, one must take a look at her brief, tragic life.
Sylvia Plath was born on October 27th, 1932 in Boston Massachusetts to her mother, Aurelia Schober and father, Otto Plath. …show more content…

In the title itself, Plath makes an allusion to Lazarus, a bible character who was brought back to life after three days in the tomb, indicating that there will be references to death in this poem. Plath begins by confessing her attempts at suicide once in every decade of her life. She uses vivid imagery to help explain the reason behind these attempts and the suffering she faces. In line 5, she compares her skin to a Nazi lampshade. During the Holocaust, Nazi people used to skin Jewish people, using it to make lampshades. In her use of this horrifying metaphor, Plath compares her emotional suffering to the physical suffering of those Jewish people in concentration camps. She highlights the heaviness of her heart in her comparison of her right foot to a paper weight. This vivid imagery serves to help the reader understand the reality and burden of Plath’s pain. She continues with the imagery of a featureless face revealing her belief that she lacks any identity. She feels she has no purpose and nothing to set her apart from those that surround her. Plath addresses her audience directly demanding them, “Peel off the napkin” (line 12). This is Plath’s way of challenging to reader to look at her for who she really is. She does not believe that anyone would actually want to get to know her because they will view her soul as dead, the reason for her use of imagery of death and decomposition to describe herself. This is the point at which the reader can become aware that Plath identifies with the dead Lazarus not the one brought back to life . Plath uses imagery of a decaying body such as prominent “nose” cavity, “eye pits”, “teeth, and “sour breath” to explain she feels that her soul is decomposing. She thinks of herself as a rotting corpse, not a “smiling woman... only thirty” She reveals her disappointment

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