“The Child’s cry/Melts into the wall”: Sylvia Plath and maternal ambivalence - Université Paris Nanterre Access content directly
Journal Articles E-rea - Revue électronique d’études sur le monde anglophone Year : 2023

“The Child’s cry/Melts into the wall”: Sylvia Plath and maternal ambivalence

Alice Braun

Abstract

This article aims at studying the representation of motherhood in the fiction and poetry of Sylvia Plath using the concept of “maternal ambivalence”, which was first explored by psychoanalyst Rozsika Parker, and which has become central in the area of maternal studies. Although Sylvia Plath often drew a parallel between creativity and fertility in her earlier poems and some of her personal writings, the poems she wrote after she became a mother display the mixture of conflicting emotions which is typical of maternal ambivalence. The conflict revolves around the difficulty for Plath to articulate her life as a poet and a mother, but also around the possibility of writing about motherhood in a way that would not relegate her work to the margins of the literary canon. I would like to contend that Plath’s poems on the topic should not be read as confessions of her individual travails, but rather as explorations of the conflict between creativity and motherhood.

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Literature

Dates and versions

hal-04348339 , version 1 (16-12-2023)

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Alice Braun. “The Child’s cry/Melts into the wall”: Sylvia Plath and maternal ambivalence. E-rea - Revue électronique d’études sur le monde anglophone, 2023, 21.1, ⟨10.4000/erea.16624⟩. ⟨hal-04348339⟩
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