"It's the theatrical" : Sylvia Plath and the audacious performance of an atomic identity (thesis)
AbstractThe body of this thesis explains Plath's most shocking metaphors by arguing that she is not simply a "confessional" poet, as many have labeled her (Britzolakis 3). Instead, she complicates the very idea of confession or self-expression by emphasizing that the poetic speaker, and even the self beyond the poem, is always a performance. Some of the poems that illuminate this idea are her most famous: "Fever 103°," "Lady Lazarus," "The Bee Meeting," "Swarm," "The Arrival of the Bee Box," "Stings," "Ariel," and "Daddy." During my research visit to Smith College in Northampton, I found the manuscripts of these poems to show evidence of Plath's very deliberate employment of racial metaphor; the evolution of drafts, the deletions, and the relocation of racial figures and slurs illuminate the poetnulls careful methodology. Through close analysis of these selected poems, I was able to dissect divisive metaphorical content and discover the purposed tactics beneath them. I understand the poems as dramatic lyrics, defined by a consistent and methodological theatricality that is essential for Plathnulls ground-breaking aesthetic: to perform the search for female selfhood, vigorously and without reservation. I have also closely analyzed Plathnulls recordings of these poems, to find her own delivery highly theatrical- in contrast to the emotionless recordings of previous, less provocative poems. [page 8 & 9 of introduction
Thesis; [FULL-TEXT RESTRICTED TO WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY LOGIN]
Jenna Paige Worsham is a member of the Class of 2010 of Washington and Lee University.