Anne Sexton

Essay by amyshenHigh School, 12th grade September 2014

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Susan Gubar once stated: "Myths and fairy tales often both state and enforce culture's sentence with greater accuracy than more sophisticated literary texts" (Marin 10). Since fairy tales are often times the direct reflections of society, they are often used in literary works that scrutinize social issues. An example of such literary work is Anne Sexton's poem collection titled Transformations. In Transformations, Anne Sexton discusses the stereotypes and controversial social issues associated with women by retelling the famous Grimm's fairy tales. In her version of those stories, the fairy tales are examined and transformed from a feminist perspective.

Anne Sexton's personal experiences serve as the bases for her feminist works. She was once a victim of the society's stereotypical view of women. In an interview with Barabara Kelves in 1968, Sexton recounted her early years: "Until I was twenty-eight I had a kind of buried self who did not know she could do anything but make white sauce and diaper babies…I tried my damnedest to lead a conventional life, for that was how I was brought up and it was what my husband wanted of me" (Parr 671).

Society at that time taught women that being moms and wives were their destinies and main responsibilities. They were what their husbands wanted them to be. Women lived not as humans, but rather as puppets that were controlled by the wills of men. This social prejudice against women became barriers preventing them from chasing their own dreams. In other words, women were imprisoned not by the fire-breathing dragon as said in the fairy tales, but by the stereotypes the society recklessly foisted on them. By altering the fairy tales, Sexton intends to tell us that monsters and villains are not what we should fear, for those are not...