Misandry in Selected Poems by Sylvia Plath - MA Thesis
This thesis discusses the concept of misandry in five selected poems by Sylvia Plath. It attempts to identify the poetic contexts where this term forms much of their meaning. The study uses a critical approach by benefitting from the French feminist-psychoanalytic theory to gain answers for the questions it raises from its study material. It is a work that highlights the social significance of literature, particularly poetry. The thesis contains four main chapters, a conclusion and a list of references. The first chapter is the introduction. It consists of a general overview of the postmodern time when Plath had spent her life in. The chapter includes the aims, theories, methodology and literature review. The second chapter covers the historical background when the poems were written. It also provides a short biography of Plath. Since she is one of the pioneers of confessional style, a short illustration of the style is made. It also gives an explanation of the concept of misandry. The third core chapter contains the analysis of three of the selected poems: “Mushrooms” (1959), “Lady Lazarus” (1962), and “Daddy” (1962). It discusses misandry as the main theme of the poems. The influence of patriarchy on her inner and outer worlds is revealed. The speaking subject in her poems is analyzed accordingly. The chapter also illustrates her protest against the social norms set by patriarchy. It also discusses the causes that lead to her suicidal personality and interest in death. The poems are divided into two stages. “Mushrooms” represents the first stage that deals with Plath’s preparation to fight against patriarchy. While “Lady Lazarus” and “Daddy” are considered the second stage that involves resistance. Also core, chapter four focuses more on Plath’s inner world. It covers the other two of her latest poems, “Sheep in Fog” (1963) and “Paralytic” (1963). She laments her situation as a female entity while living in a male-dominated society. It deals with the victimization of Plath’s personality and body. Her disappointment in society that leads to her misandry partially forms the content of this chapter. These two poems are the last stage that explain Plath’s aim of her resistance and how she has delivered her message regarding women’s victimization under the rule of patriarchy. Ultimately comes the conclusion chapter that sums up the answers the study has for the questions raised in the first chapter and a list of references used throughout the main body of this thesis.