Anne Sexton

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Throughout history, there have been countless individuals who have excelled in the art of written literature, and in particular poetry, who have also suffered from a form of mental illness (Sussman).These individuals are examples of the link between creative episodes and mental illness, and two of the most identifiable examples are Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. Both Plath and Sexton were troubled individuals who suffered from manic depression and bipolar disorder, and both ultimately gave in to their suicidal tendencies and took their own lives. The eerie similarities between the lives of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath continued into their written works, producing two sets of confessional literature with common themes. Both Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton shared the common themes of death, mental illness, and despair in their written works including The Bell Jar, “Sylvia’s Death,” “Her Kind,” and “Lady Lazarus”. Sylvia Plath’s troubled life began on October 27, 1932 when she was born to Otto and Aurelia Plath in Boston, Massachusetts (Mondragon). Plath developed a talent for literature from a very young age, and published her first poem at eight years old. Also at age eight, Plath suffered the traumatic loss of her father (Mondragon). He died on the night of November 5, 1940, and when Plath learned of her father’s death she announced, “I’ll never speak to God again” (Mondragon). Her strong feelings of anger, grief, and love from the loss of her father would shadow Plath for the rest of her life and appear in poems such as the famed “Daddy” (Mondragon). Plath continued to write throughout her school years and was featured in several magazine articles. However, Plath received numerous publication rejections throughout her life which caused her own belief in her talent to waver and gave her the feeling of being a failure. Plath also fell into a pattern where severe stress would cause physical ailments, which then led to cycles of depression and further stress


Cited: "American Poets of the 20th Century The Poets Anne Sexton (1928-1974)." American Poets of the 20th Century: The Poets: Anne Sexton (1928-1974). N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. Black, Axelle. "Poem Analysis: Lady Lazarus by Axelle BlackEdit." Poem Analysis: Lady Lazarus. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. Beckmann, Anja. "Anne Sexton." SylviaPlath.de. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. “Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath.” Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath Classic Famous Poet. Social Design , n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. Mondragon, Brenda C. "Neurotic Poets." - Sylvia Plath. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. Perloff, Marjorie. "Sylvia Plath 's 'Collected Poems ': A Review-Essay." Resources for American Literary Study 11.2 (1981): n. pag. Gale Literary Databases. Web. 31 Mar. 2013. Sussman, Adrienne. "Mental Illness and Creativity: A Neurological View of the 'Tortured Artist. '" Stanford Journal of Neuroscience 1.1 (2007): 21-24. Print. 28 Mar. 2013. Wagner-Martin, Linda. "Anne Sexton 's Life." Anne Sexton 's Life. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013.

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