From “The Small Doll” to “The Lioness”: The Reversal of Master/Slave Role in Sylvia Plath’s Selected Poems

Atoosa Shahsavari, Fahimeh Naseri, Abdolmohammad Movahhed

Abstract


Written in the last two years of her life, selected poems of Sylvia Plath such as, “The Jailer”, “Three Women”, “Fever103°”, “Purdah”, “Daddy”, “Lady Lazarus”, and “Edge” reveal that the speaker’s inevitable movement towards her final suicide is rooted in her enslavement by men in society. This is observed by reading these poems in the light of Simon De Beauvoir’s dichotomy of master-slave in The Second Sex, with application of terms like “the other”, “realm of the women”, “double demand”, “servant”, and “enchantress”. In this article it is argued that the speaker manages to reverse the dichotomy and becomes the master of her own fate by committing suicide. To the best of my knowledge the application of De Beauvoir’s theory to the above-mentioned poems has not been done before; therefore, it can shed new light on how power relations between men and women are reversed in these poems.

Keywords


Sylvia Plath, Suicide, Feminism, Simon De Beauvoir, Master-Slave Dichotomy

Full Text:

PDF

References


Alvarez, A. “Critical Views on “Daddy”: A. Alvarez on Plath's Concern with Loss of Identity.” Sylvia Plath, edited by Harold Bloom, Chelsea House Publishers, 2001, PP.45-47.

Annas, Pamela J. A Disturbance in Mirrors: The Poetry of Sylvia Plath. Greenwood, 1988.

Balbi, Alita Fonseca. "Gender and Sexuality in the Poetry of Sylvia Plath." Em Tese, Vol. 17, No.2, PP.179-198.

De Beauvoir, Simon. The Second Sex. Translated by H.M. Parshley, Jonathan Cape, 1953.

Gentry, Deborah S. The Art of Dying: Suicide in the Works of Kate Chopin and Sylvia Plath. Dissertation, Middle Tennessee State University, 1992.

Gupta, Tanu, and Anju Bala Sharma. “Portrayal of Gender Roles in the Poetry of Sylvia Plath.” Asian Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities, Vol.3, No.3, 2014, PP.142-147.

Lant, Kathleen M. “The Big Strip Tease: Female Bodies and Male Power in the Poetry of Sylvia Plath.” Contemporary Literature, Vol. 34, No. 4, 1993, PP.620-669, www.jstor.org/stable/1208804.

Plath, Sylvia. The Collected Poems. Edited by Ted Hughes, Harper & Row, 1981

Rietz, John. “The Father as Muse in Sylvia Plath's Poetry.” Women's Studies, vol 36, no. 6, 2007, PP. 417- 430, doi: 10.1080/00497870701493369.

Sharma, Rajani. "Terrible Fish in Sylvia Plath's Mirrors: Perception and Relevance of Mirror Imagery." The Indian Review of World Literature in English, vol.5, no.2,2009, PP. 1-19.

Van Dyne, Susan R. "The Problem of Biography." The Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath, Edited by Joe Gill, Cambridge University Press, 2006, PP: 3-20.

Wagner-Martin, Linda." Plath’s Triumphant Women Poems." Edited by Blooms, Infobase Publishing, 2007, PP. 193-206.

Yaros, Jennifer. "Sylvia Plath: Poetry and Suicide." Plath Profiles: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Sylvia Plath.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.9n.4p.10

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.