This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Anne Sexton Essay

1728 words - 7 pages

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 “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 “captures the oldest son’s heart.” The choice of the word “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 storyline, but the hard working nature to his story, while possibly endearing him to the reader, also paints a less benevolent picture of the universe. Nothing happens to the milkman-he has to go into real estate. He may have gotten some lucky breaks, but he did not win the lottery. Finally, the charwoman is certainly the least romantic story of the four; the universe may have given here money, but only after she suffered a bus crash. Insurance has none of the glamour of winning the lottery or falling in love.
Next, the Cinderella story starts. The speaker does not tell the Disney version of Cinderella, but rather the Brothers Grimm story of Aschenputtel. This version involves much more blood and gore than the version many American children now know, and this choice is significant; Sexton will not sugar coat reality, and forces us to see the original story, uncut, for what it really is. Continuing with this pattern, the speaker tells the story with a blunt tone and not remotely romantic analogies. She describes Cinderella, for example, as “looking like Al Jolson.” Al Jolson was an actor who famously wore black-face makeup, and although Jolson was a civil rights activist, the use of black-face is generally...

Find Another Essay On Anne Sexton

The life of Anne Sexton Essay

1269 words - 5 pages Anne Sexton was born Anne Gray Harvey on the 9th day of November 1928 in Newton, Massachusetts. She was a very disturbed poet whom wrote of her experiences with depression and mental illness. Sexton, a confessional poet, was an internationally known figure. Although this is true not all critics were positive. In fact they felt she bared too much in her poetry. Too much meaning it was acceptable for men and not women. Such topics as drinking

Anne Sexton and "Briar Rose" Essay

1050 words - 4 pages In “Briar Rose,” Anne Sexton utilizes a classic fairy tale to inform the reader of her own childhood experiences with sexual abuse. Instead of simply retelling the story, she puts a new twist on it and transforms it into an elaborate metaphor: Sexton is the Briar Rose from her own story. Not so much a cry for help as a plea for awareness, Sexton uses carefully crafted words to depict Briar Rose’s and her own struggle to expose the perpetrator

Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath: Minds of Distortion and Darkness

1570 words - 6 pages Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath were both great minds, creative individuals, and some of the greatest poetic individuals of the twentieth century. Though Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath were great poets, they were also obsessed with death, darkness, and plagued with manic depression. They yearned for death, and both were able to achieve their life goal of dying. They're poetry is a direct result of their morbid minds and the strange obsessions they

The Paralelle lives of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath

1320 words - 5 pages than they, consuming them entirely. Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton are perfect examples of this type of tragedy. Looking now, at their lives and especially their writings, it should be no surprise that both of these women's lives ended at the mercy of their own hands.Sylvia Plath was born in Jamaica Plan, Massachusetts to Otto and Aurelia Plath. Her childhood was a blissful one, until the age of eight when the death of her father occurred. This

Commentary on Anne Sexton´s Poem, A Twist on the Tale of Cinderella

711 words - 3 pages time or another, the beautiful fairy tale Cinderella has been in nearly every child’s life at one time. Anne Sexton manages to put a twist in her version of Cinderella, born in 1928-1970. Sexton was well-known as an Outstanding Contemporary poet with a vivid style of writing in her literature. The irony way of word choices was used in this poem not holding back on the sarcasm, harshness, to dramatize the events in the story. The Cinderella

Musee des Beux Arts by W.H Auden and Anne Sexton´s To a Friend Whose Come to Triumph

957 words - 4 pages pays attention to the sufferings around them, yet his poem managed to avoid that suffering outright. "To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph" by Anne Sexton is more about poet Anne Sexton's feelings about the Daedalus and Icarus story as indicated by the tone, diction, and syntax in her poem. It also shows how her perspective is atypical. Stories can have completely different interpretations when read by different people. Anne Sexton

Modern Writing - This essay describes how modern authors such as Ernest Hemmingway, Robert Frost, and Anne Sexton. This essay describes how dark and depressing modern writing can be

611 words - 2 pages of the modernist poems is one written by Anne Sexton called Self in 1958. This is one of the most depressing of all modern poems. Sexton expresses how she feels about the purpose of her life. She wonders about reality and calls herself a plaster doll. She calls herself a doll that is set in place to do a certain thing at a certain time. She is just a figure who was given life to look good and perform the roles she was intended. This attitude

The Art of Diction in Anne Sexton's Music Swims Back to Me

1046 words - 4 pages Diction is defined as the choice of words or the vocabulary in a poem or story. In Anne Sexton's masterpiece "Music Swims Back to Me", Sexton uses diction to her advantage to entice the reader and create visual images to convey a message. Her word choice uncovers hidden meanings of words and phrases to tell what it was like for her to be institutionalized. Sexton's choice of a dark tone adds another element to the poem. Anne Sexton's

Anne sexton's cinderella

952 words - 4 pages With many variations of fantasies, "Happily ever after" is reoccurring in every fairy tale. "Cinderella" by Anne Sexton is a different variation of the classic tale. The author sets up her version of Cinderella with four anecdotes sharing how others can go from poverty to riches or gritty reality to fantasy. Sexton changes her happily ever after ending by satirizing the message the story gives. By doing so, Sexton would like the reader to know

"Young"

864 words - 4 pages Anne Sexton, a poet who discovered her “poetic voice” as an adult, made works of poetry that focused on personal issues or works made specific to issues of women. Her poem “Young” portrays her work of personal issues. In this poem, she talks about how hard her life was when she was young. Sexton explains all the troubles in her life that can relate to most girls’ lives today in her poem. Some of these troubles include her parents being split up

Satire in Anne Sexton's Cinderella

755 words - 3 pages In Anne Sexton's "Cinderella" one may ponder what the purpose and tone is. Anne Sexton uses a strong satiric and humorous undertone when poking fun at marriage. The use of dark humor adds life and body to the poem. Anne Sexton's placement of witty understatements is impeccable and allows the reader to imagine Anne Sexton's dark humorous laugh as they read the poem."You always read about.../...the nursemaid some luscious sweet from Denmark / who

Similar Essays

Anne Sexton Essay

885 words - 4 pages Anne Sexton Michealangelo, perhaps the most gifted sculptor and painter of all times, once said that "geniuses stand on the shoulders of other geniuses." As Michelangelo built upon the brilliance of his predecessors, Anne Sexton does the same in her collection of poems entitled Transformations. She renovated fairy tales as told by the Brothers Grimm by adding her own life experiences and view of contemporary culture, hammering away until she

Anne Sexton Essay

1417 words - 6 pages Susan Gubar once stated: "Myths and fairy tales often both state and enforce culture's sentence with greater accuracy than more sophisticated literary texts" (Marin 10). Since fairy tales are often times the direct reflections of society, they are often used in literary works that scrutinize social issues. An example of such literary work is Anne Sexton's poem collection titled Transformations. In Transformations, Anne Sexton discusses the

Discussion Of Anne Sexton Essay

647 words - 3 pages At the heart of Anne Sexton's poetry is a search for identity, and her well-known infatuation with death, which is the cause of her rather notorious fame. Quite simply, Sexton's poetry is a poetry of life. Sometimes her works seem confessional, but to me it does not mean that her confessions necessarily describe experiences ridden with guilt or pain. Anne Sexton speaks longingly and lovingly of a world of health and childlike wholeness. This is

The Life Of Anne Sexton Essay

2219 words - 9 pages On what I imagine would be a dark day, November 9th, 1928, the dark, intelligent, and brilliant mind known as Anne Sexton was born in the small town of Newton, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Mary Gray Staples Harvey and Ralph Churchill Harvey. Anne was raised in a prosperous middle-class family. Anne was the baby of the family, and was always in the dire need of attention, but was often neglected. As her oldest sister matured, Anne saw