Friday, July 19, 2019

Anne Sexton Essay -- Literary Analysis

Most of us accept the stories we were told as children were false, or at least romanticized. At some point, the illusion was shattered, and Santa, the Easter Bunny and Cinderella were characters we fondly remembered. But although we recognized these figures and legends as illusions, we held on to many of the sentiments the stories, without questioning their application to adult life. Anne Sexton often uses these innocent, childlike images juxtaposed with cynical but more realistic situations in order show that the lessons society teaches children, ones that children retain as adults, are illusions that do not properly illustrate the corrupt, violent world we actually live in. Sexton’s poem Cinderella, about rags to riches stories, clearly follows this pattern. First, the speaker tells four stories: one of a plumber who wins the lottery, one of a nursemaid who marries her boss’s son, a milkman who makes a fortune in real estate, and a charwoman who becomes rich after a bus she was on crashes, and she collects on insurance. The progression of these stories themselves lay cynicism into the form of the poem. The speaker starts with a story about a lottery winner, which is something lucky and could be taken as the universe helping a man struggling to take care of â€Å"the twelve children.† Next comes the nursemaid, who does have a romantic journey too, though not quite as incidental as this lucky plumber, because she â€Å"captures the oldest son’s heart.† The choice of the word â€Å"capture† could be viewed as merely an idiomatic happenstance, or more possibly an implication that the speaker feels the nursemaid had some ulterior motive to love in her interactions with the son. After the nursemaid is the milkman. The milkman still has a romantic ... ...ton’s issue is not with people on an individual level, but instead with the society that puts them in the situations that it does. This is significant because it shows Sexton’s goal is to illuminate society’s flaws and lies rather than those of people. Often, the reader cannot help but feel a bit disheartened after reading a collection of Anne Sexton’s poems. Sexton herself was disheartened with the prospect of life, killing herself at the age of 45 after years in and out of mental facilities. Her poems certainly take cynicism to an extreme, but they remain the type of extreme valuable to the literary canon. Her poetry leaves the reader questioning the world around him, now able to see stories and past experiences in a new light. And although in the case of Sexton this light may be a shadow, the new depth it adds highlights to us that which we hold truly pure.

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