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Title:Her kind: Personae in Anne Sexton's poetry
Author(s):Donovan, Jane Adams
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Maclay, Joanna H.
Department / Program:Women's Studies
Speech Communication
Literature, American
Discipline:Women's Studies
Speech Communication
Literature, American
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Speech Communication
Literature, American
Abstract:Though much early criticism describes Anne Sexton's confessional style, noting how her poetry exposes the shocking and sometimes embarrassing aspects of her personal life, critics largely ignore how she achieves the appearance of autobiography, even in poems which she states are not autobiographical. Noting how her poetry explores the psychological aspects of her search for identity and her role as a woman in modern American culture, many recent critics also focus on the poet and overlook the speaker in her poetry. This study examines the Sexton personae in three ways. First, the relatively consistent traits of the personae who appear in the poetry apart from and created by the poet, Anne Sexton, are identified. Second, as several themes recur throughout her canon--the struggles in mother-daughter relationships, the joy and pain in love relationships, the search for a religious belief, the creative process for the poet-writer, the creation and recreation of myths, and the traumas of mental instability--this study analyzes those themes, noting how they force the speakers to play six role-complexes. Sexton's speakers evolve throughout the body of her work as they conform to and rebel against both their natural-biological roles (the mother-daughter and lover roles) and their other, alienated unnatural-nonbiological roles (the religious supplicant, writer-poet, storyteller, and madwoman-witch roles). Third, as one trait of the speakers is their nearly constant attention to the audience in the poems and since the audience changes as the speaker enacts different role-complexes, the audiences in and of the poetry are considered. Finally, the implications for performances of these speakers are examined in the last chapter.
Issue Date:1993
Rights Information:Copyright 1993 Donovan, Jane Adams
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9329017
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9329017

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