Oysters by Anne Sexton

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Oysters: Anne Sexton: An appreciation (commentary)

The poem “Oysters” came into view in Anne Sexton’s sixth published book of poetry called “The Book of Folly”. Anne Sexton was married at the age of nineteen, and so this poem could revolve around how she misses her dad and how she grew older and more mature to what she is now. Sexton, provokes the idea of getting older and mature throughout the entire poem, by using the idea of symbolism. This poem also has a sexual aspect to it, which adds a great twist to the entire poem as well as this poem represents the loss of innocence.

This poem as a whole is really symbolic as it portrays the death of childhood and innocence. This whole poem is centered on the topic of oysters as it starts with the line “Oysters we ate” signifying the importance of oysters throughout the entire poem and that it’s the main topic. While going to eat dinner with her father she says “I was afraid to eat this father-food”, the word she used for describing oysters is “father food” suggesting that it’s a food which grown up/adult people eat as raw oysters aren’t usually for children because they have sensitive buds. So the importance of her referring oysters to “father-food” could be that now she’s switching positions from a child to a teenager. Later, towards the end of the poem she says “ I was fifteen and eating oysters, the child was defeated. The woman won.” could symbolize the death of childhood and innocence as she ate the oysters and how she considers herself a woman and the child in her has been washed away.

Sexton, also adds a sexual aspect to it as oysters is believed to be a kind of strange food for a father and daughter to be eating alone together. Throughout the entire poem the fifteen year old girl talks about eating oysters and so it becomes an analogy for maybe a sexual attraction between the girl and her father, and the fact that “It was a soft medicine that came from the sea into my mouth, moist and plump. I...
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