Hello Reading Family!
If you have been following me for a bit, then you may remember that I have been on a Sylvia Plath kick this year. I’ve made it my mission to learn ALL about her. My next read on my Plath journey was extra special. 𝘛𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘪 𝘈𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘰𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘈𝘵 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘙𝘪𝘵𝘻: 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘙𝘦𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘚𝘺𝘭𝘷𝘪𝘢 𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘈𝘯𝘯𝘦 𝘚𝘦𝘹𝘵𝘰𝘯 by Gail Crowther explored not only Plath but also Anne Sexton. Let me add that Crowther is officially my new go-to author.
Plath and Sexton were both extraordinary poets. They were friends and bitter rivals who shared not only a talent for writing but also a world of mental illness and trauma. I love how Crowther drew parallels between these two ladies across multiple domains. She thoughtfully used her looking glass to consider their childhoods, sexual behavior, marriage, motherhood, writing lives, mental health, and suicides relating to their work and livelihood.
Crowther’s side-by-side examination of these two women accentuated their need to put words down on paper and highlighted their understanding of each other’s work in a male-dominated world. While I was intrigued by how Crowther showcased their writing worlds, I was FASCINATED by how mental illness was such a dominating force in BOTH their lives. For me, the direct comparison of Plath and Sexton not only reiterated how trapped women were in their expected roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers in the 50s and 60s but how past trauma and intricate upbringings play a role in one’s ability to thrive.
Today’s incredible advances in psychology and psychiatric care are astonishing when you compare them to what these ladies endured. Reading about Plath and Sexton (who is still very new to me) is certainly not comfortable. Their lives are heartbreaking and extremely upsetting to read about. Their writing, however, is a front-row seat into their beautiful minds. I can only imagine how brilliant their future writing could have been. If only………
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