Sylvia Plath the Thin People

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Stories like “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and “The Legend of Narcissus”, that dictate against the repercussions of being vain have been circulating for years and appear in almost every religion or culture. In fact, folklore, fairytales and other fictitious pieces that attempt to preach against having an obsession with one’s image have been passed down generation to generation. One would assume that such didactic material concerning vanity would have dhfjsdfhkd, the obsession with self-image has consumed humanity for ages. Such vain ideals can be traced through history by merely analyzing the various fads that come and go with each time period. From the ‘Empire Dress’ in the 1800s, to the present 21st century where cardigans and skinny jean have swept the nation, fads have become a pivotal part of everyday life. A particularly interesting fad that can be traced through history is that of a female’s body type. In the 1700’s overweight women were preferred as their state showcased her financial situation. This mindset shifted as time progressed and by the late 1900’s, the perfect body type for a girl became a size 16, more popularly deemed “The Marilyn Monroe Figure”. Today this size has decreased into a size 8 due to heavy pressure by the media and ultimately leading females to be more concerned than ever before with maintaining the perfect petite figure. Through Sylvia Plath’s poetic piece, The Thin People, this obsession with being starving one to not only be ‘thin’ physically but also mentally is clearly shown through the use of structure, extended metaphors concerning the Holocaust while using carefully chosen diction to further Plath’s idea of mental starvation.

Plath draws a parallel between famine and the obsession with being thin to satirize how we mourn for those who starve due to the lack of nourishment but celebrate those who starve themselves in order to fit societal norms in order to maintain the perfect petite body. “Drinking vinegar in tin...
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