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Literature in English, North America

2018

Feminism

City University of New York (CUNY)

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To Be Everything: Sylvia Plath And The Problem That Has No Name, Alanna P. Mcauliffe May 2018

To Be Everything: Sylvia Plath And The Problem That Has No Name, Alanna P. Mcauliffe

Student Theses

This thesis explores, in depth, how the poetry of Sylvia Plath operates as an expression of female discontent in the decade directly preceding the sexual revolution. This analysis incorporates both sociohistorical context and theory introduced in Betty Friedan’s 1963 work The Feminine Mystique. In particular, Plath’s work is put in conversation with Friedan’s notion of the “problem that has no name,” an all-consuming sense of malaise and dissatisfaction that plagued American women in the postwar era. This notion is furthered by close-readings of poems written throughout various stages of Plath’s career (namely “Spinster,” “Two Sisters of ...