The Complete Poems Chapter Abstracts for Teachers

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Chapter Abstracts

To Bedlam and Part Way Back

• To Bedlam and Part Way Back is Anne Sexton's first book of poetry.

• It announces her presence to the literary world and establishes her intimate, confessional style.

• The preface, a quote from a letter of Schopenhauer to Goethe about the Greek tragic hero Oedipus and his search for the truth, suggests that the reader is about to be given a glance at the author's unflinching examination of self.

• Given the book's highly autobiographical nature and the author's history of mental illness, the subject of the book is very obviously Anne Sexton's first breakdown and subsequent stay in a private psychiatric hospital.

• Though clearly written after her hospitalization, Sexton's poems, particularly in Part I, place the reader in the eye of the mental storm.

• Part I deals with the Sexton's loss of touch with reality and the trauma of her hospitalization.

• "You, Doctor...

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