Chapter

Plath's Poetry and Fiction

Luke Ferretter

in Sylvia Plath's Fiction

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780748625093
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671694 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625093.003.0003
Plath's Poetry and Fiction

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This chapter discusses the relationship between the poetry and the fiction that Plath was writing at the same time during the different periods of her creative career. The first section examines the poetry and fiction of 1954–55, in which Plath deals with the unresolved pain of childhood events in her fiction, but with the more complex pain of love in her poetry. This greater complexity continues in the poetry she writes whilst working on her first novel Falcon Yard in 1957. The women of Plath's fiction are much more in control of their relationships to men than the women of her poetry. During her Cambridge period, her fiction deals more explicitly with the politics of relationship, as a comparison between her story ‘The Wishing Box’ and her poems on imagination and reality show. As she begins to write some of her finest short fiction in Boston, however, a greater psychological complexity emerges in stories such as ‘Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams’ than in the psychological poems of the same period. Finally, a comparison of the few poems Plath wrote whilst writing The Bell Jar and of the many she wrote whilst writing Double Exposure shed light on the concerns of those novels.

Keywords: pain; love poetry; relationships; 'The Wishing Box'; psychology; 'Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams'; Falcon Yard; The Bell Jar; Double Exposure

Chapter.  16433 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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