Chapter

Gender and Society in Plath's Short Stories

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/9780748625093.003.0006
Gender and Society in Plath's Short Stories

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This chapter discusses the portrayals of women's lives in Plath's short stories. The first section deals with her women's magazine stories, published and unpublished. It argues for their political complexity, their environmental vision, their complex gender politics, and Plath's conflicted relationship to the genre. Next, the chapter examines Plath's series of stories about the home, in which she simultaneously values and criticises contemporary attitudes towards women. The chapter then discusses the complex nature of feminine identity, particularly as mediated through contemporary beauty adverts, in stories such as ‘Platinum Summer’. It concludes with a discussion of the role of violence in Plath's fiction, especially in ‘Sunday at the Mintons’ and ‘The Fifty-Ninth Bear’.

Keywords: women's magazine fiction; home; feminine mystique; beauty; advertisements; 'Platinum Summer'; violence; 'Sunday at the Mintons'; 'The Fifty-Ninth Bear'

Chapter.  12005 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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