Plath and Sexton’s Artistic Affiliation and Art of Resistance

Khawla Ouni


Known for their break of the rigid confines of formalism, the mid-twentieth century American poets Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath eloquently make their sorrow a reverse discourse and a howl against hegemonic representations and practices exerted by patriarchal societies. Plath’s later poetry, along with her novella The Bell Jar, converges with sexton’s poetry in unraveling women’s sufferings in hermetically-concealed confines of what Sexton refers to as the “gender of things.”  Such writers get to the bone of women’s acquiescence in the domestic, medical, and sexual realms. The paper excavates, in the first part, both poets’ artistic affiliation and bold disruption of Formalism through the celebration of the confessional mode. Then, it spots the light on their convergence in nodding to the close affiliation between women’s suffering and domesticity through a vivid portrayal of their “kinds,” whose aspirations turned into ashes by the requirements of motherhood and marriage.


hegemony, gender, Plath, Sexton, confessional, formalism, domesticity.

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