Thursday, December 6, 2012

Poem: "Her Kind"

"Her Kind"

by Anne Sexton
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I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.
 Anne Sexton Reading "Her Kind"

Katy Robertson
English 242
December 11, 2012
Ms. Wentworth
Anne Sexton Analysis
            Anne Sexton was an American poet during the mid 1900s who suffered from mental illness for most of her life. The themes of her poetry usually revolved around topics such as mental illness, depression and death. The poem “Her Kind” is one of Sexton’s more famous poems and one that reflects the kind of woman she was. The speaker in “Her Kind” is Sexton, who is insane, yet able to maintain a sense of reality.  At the end of each stanza she says, “I have been her kind”. What she meant is that she closely identified with each type of woman.
            In the first stanza she talked about a witch, or some type of powerful woman; someone who was rebellious and had beliefs that went against what society wants us to believe. She was an unnatural woman and did not fit the criteria of what society expected of women. In the second stanza, she talks about the typical type of woman who keeps up with her home and is the caretaker of the family and how she is misunderstood for reasons such as the loss of her independence.  She was demonstrating the fact that women were not seen as individuals. They were seen as having no purpose other than being a wife and mother. She was stating the fact that not all women were fond of caring and cooking and cleaning and sacrificing for a family. Of course, that made her an outcast in society. As a woman, she should love her family and love to give up herself and her desires for them. Sexton argued that women like that shouldn’t be labeled as unnatural, but misunderstood. In the third stanza she is talking about a woman, possibly Joan of Arc, who was burned at the stake for trying to be more than what society deemed a woman should be. She said she was “not ashamed to die” because she had lived her life on her own terms. Society may not have agreed with it, but she didn’t care. She celebrated her “unnatural” ability. She showed that if we lived our lives as we see fit, in spite of the backlash we may receive from others, then we may live and die with pride. Sexton’s poem is empowering to women everywhere.

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