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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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Gender and Society in Plath's Short Stories

Gender and Society in Plath's Short Stories

(p.152) Chapter 5: Gender and Society in Plath's Short Stories
Sylvia Plath's Fiction

Luke Ferretter

Edinburgh University Press

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 The first section deals with her women's magazine stories, published and unpublished.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'

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