Children in the blood jet of poetry : Sylvia Plath's poetic tale of infanticide

Author: Gryciuk, Sylwia
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2020, vol. 46, iss. 1, pp. 153-174
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
The following article presents an analysis of Sylvia Plath's mature poetry (1959-1962) concerned with the themes of motherhood and children. The analysis rejects the biographical context and instead reads the individual poems through the prism of Plath's body of work. The poems concerned with motherhood and children are also treated as a chronologically structured poetic cycle, connected by the presence of recurring characters, plots, settings, and imagery. Moreover, it is argued that Plath's whole oeuvre is characterized by the constant re-employment of key plots and "dramatis personae" and as such, the poetic cycle in question is a mere installment in a greater tale of troubled family dynamics. Precisely speaking, they represent a mirror image of the (in)famous parent-child conflicts of Plath's writings, yet this time with the Plathian persona accepting the ambiguous role of a mother, rather than that of a struggling daughter.
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