Feminist Witches and Poetry

Topics: Feminism, Woman, Gender Pages: 4 (1525 words) Published: November 9, 2010
Feminist Witches

Gabriella Arsenault
English 1501
Dr. Robert Lapp
Thursday the 9th of April 2009
Feminism is defined as the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Eavan Boland and Anne sexton share more than just their love of poetry, they both incorporated female struggles and feminist ideas into their poetry. In a close reading of the poems Her Kind, by Anne Sexton and Anorexic, by Eavan Boland, the themes and the overall feel and struggles of the characters in both poems are very similar; they both use historical and biblical references that demean women and they both use strong female stereotypes that are going through personal struggles. Both characters are empowered through their defeat or self-destruction and there is a recurring theme found in both poems; the witch. The witch is used to represent al that is evil in a woman. Sexton’s Her Kind is very much a portrayal of a woman, likely herself, who has struggled to live her life freely but has been tortured by society however Boland’s Anorexic is much more of an interior conflict between a woman and her body and instead of being punished by society, she is punishing herself to meet the standards and approvals of society.

In Her Kind, Anne Sexton’s speaker is a powerful female character who is living in a male dominant society and who is admitting to being a social outcast. Her Kind could certainly be Anne Sexton’s interpretation of her own life portrayed by this character that is unwilling to conform to social expectations and so becomes an exile who gives herself the title of a “possessed witch”. Using the word ‘witch’ strongly implies being evil and sinful for a witch was originally recognized for being a devil worshiper and so this declaration is used to compare modern women with the women of the European Inquisition in the sixteenth century who would be punished for being non-conformers and heretics of the female gender. These...
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