Initiation Sylvia Plath

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Chantal Chau
Analysis of a Key Passage,
Initiation by Sylvia Plath

In Initiation by Sylvia Plath, the author suggests that conformity and having friends is a wonderful idea, yet the idea of having an individual identity and being an individual is stronger. In the excerpt, Millicent is slowly realizing that conforming and being a part of a sorority is not as exciting as it sounds, and being an individual offers more opportunities to become a unique person. Millicent is an average girl who no one really notices, when one day, a sorority group decides to allow her to join, but she must past their initiation test first. At first, Millicent is ecstatic, and proud that she can finally be a part of society, but slowing, and in the beginning of the excerpt, Millicent finds that being an individual can offer more. As she is talking to Liane Morris, another sorority contestant, she finds that in the sorority “they have a meeting once a week...each girl takes turns entertaining at her house...”, and how this is not all as exciting as she imagined. Millicent’s desire to know what the group does reflects the idea of hesitation, and how Millicent is now wondering if she really wants to be a part of this group. As she considers both sides of her decision to join, she realizes that joining the sorority would simply allow her to approach Herb, a male student she likes. Her thought “would he ask her out (if he ever did) just for herself, no strings attached?” bring the desire to be unique and original up and pushes past the need to be popular. Millicent is constantly considering the idea of not joining the sorority, and visualizing them as “pale grey-brown birds in a flock, one like the other, all exactly alike”. This analogy of conformity is very strong, because in a sorority, every girl is alike, with shallow personalities and beautiful exteriors. The sparrows are described to be “chirping”, which brings the idea of being plain and restrained to the mind, because when birds...
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