Period/ Movement Study
Period/Movement Style: Confessional
Anne Sexton-45 Mercy Street
When I first read the title of this remarkable poem , it struck me that this poem deals with family and the past; I was right. As a mark of theme, Anne Sexton longs for a place where she can recapture the innocence she lost when she became an adult. This, most likely, is a result of the lost of her family; through divorce, and failure as a mother. 45 Mercy Street is a symbol of the past life Anne lived as a child; one without conflict and responsibility, and is instead simple, easy and safe. Anyone can make a personal connection to this poem. We all, no matter what age, wish for the easy lives we lived as toddlers, adolescents, and pre-teens. We all want our childhood back, but nobody wanted it more than Anne.
Sylvia Plath-The Sleepers
The title of this brilliant poem refers to a couple that are either alive of dead ( I have not been able to confirm either). The theme is easy really: this is a couple on the verge on calling it quits ; their relationship is literally dying. This entire poem is symbolic of death and her marriage which inevitably ended in divorce. She uses imagery; you can literally smell the "wet earth" sitting outside and can practically see the 'The french window ajar, curtained with yellow lace". Figurative language is also present as Plath talks of petals " as pale as death"(simile) and " they sleep on mouth to mouth" (hyperbole). I have been in a bad relationship, one that was doomed from the start and died quickly when it began; everyone has. This poem is terribly heartbreaking and it makes my sympathy for Plath to grow deeper.
Robert Lowell-After the Surprising Conversions
The title of this poem indicates that it was written in response to The great Awakening, a religious movement that occurred in New England( Colonial America). Theme-wise, he is telling a story of a man caught up in this "awakening" and finds salvation and also the need to end his life . Strangely enough this reminds me of Lowell, who controversially converted from Episcopalianism to Catholicism, and died at the ripe age of 60 as a result of a heart attack (whether self-induced, I do not know). Personification is seen in this poem (" he would sit and watch the wind knocking a tree") as well as similes ("for loving shook him like a snake"). I never converted from Christianity to another religion; However, I have converted from Baptist to Non- Denominational ( as a result of moving). My response to this poem : Eh.
Sharon Olds- The End
This is poems title refers to the end of a life. The life that is ending is the life of Sharon Olds aborted child. Death and Murder is a major theme; the unborn child has died and the "killer' is Sharon Olds. Literary devices seen in this poem are similes ( "Bloody as Birth") and the use of strong imagery;i can practically see the car crash she described in the poems first lines. I have never had an abortion, nor a child for that matter, nor do I plan to, but I do know people who have and they can connect with this poem in ways I simply cannot. This poem is extraordinary and torturously beautiful in so many ways, its hones, raw and refreshing.