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Sylvia Plath's FictionA Critical Study$
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Luke Ferretter

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748625093

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625093.001.0001

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Plath's Poetry and Fiction

Plath's Poetry and Fiction

(p.58) Chapter 2 Plath's Poetry and Fiction
Sylvia Plath's Fiction

Luke Ferretter

Edinburgh University Press

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

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