Plath, Sylvia - Research Article from Feminism in Literature

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Sylvia Plath: General Commentary

Christina Britzolakis (Essay Date 1999)

The Spectacle of Femininity: the Question of Style

One of the stock themes of Plath criticism is the stylistic transformation which the Ariel poems represent in relation to The Colossus: from an academic formalism heavily influenced by the New Critics towards a more colloquial, immediate voice, depending less on discursive logic than on a logic of elliptically juxtaposed, startling images. Alicia Ostriker sees this change of style as a form of 'Americanization'. A risk-taking technique which insists on the 'cutting edge' of immediate factual reality, 'a kind of journalism of obsessions', is, she argues, a peculiarly American one, also practised by Thoreau, Whitman, Williams, and Frost.2 The language of Plath's later poems undoubtedly draws upon the 'flashy' naturalistic idiom of contemporary American speech. But this change of stylistic register cannot be seen merely in terms of liberation from a tradition-bound...

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This section contains 9,728 words
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