Transformations Characters

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Transformations Summary & Study Guide Description

Transformations Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Transformations by Anne Sexton.

Anne Sextonappears in Author

Anne Harvey Sexton (1928-1974) was an American poet who grew up in a middle class existence in Weston, Massachusetts. While the Harvey family was not rich, they were comfortable, thanks to the efforts of Ralph Harvey, a successful manufacturer of woolens. Anne's mother was Mary Gray Staples. In addition to the home in Weston, the family spent their summers on Maine's Squirrel Island.

While Anne had somewhat of a privileged lifestyle, the author was never comfortable with her surroundings. Ralph Harvey was an alcoholic and Mary Staples Harvey was a frustrated writer. In lieu of closeness with her parents, Anne relied heavily on the presence of Anna Dingley, a great aunt referred to as "Nana" by young Anne. There have been accusations that Anne's parents abused her either sexually or emotionally. For comfort, Anne turned to Nana. Nana suffered from a nervous breakdown which severely impacted Anne.

Anne was not a good student. The future poet and playwright did not take interest in school until the Harveys sent Anne to a boarding school where Anne began her love affair with poetry. At nineteen, Anne eloped with Alfred Sexton II. The relationship was rocky, due in part to Anne's ongoing infidelity. While Sexton was in Korea, Anne worked as a model and entered therapy for the first time. In 1953, Anne gave birth to a daughter.

Anne's depression worsened after Nana's death in 1955 and the birth of the second Sexton daughter. When Anne's husband was away with his job, Anne suffered from worsening depression and sometimes abused the children. Anne attempted suicide and once again entered therapy.

In 1957, Anne made her first major foray into the Boston writing scene. The author took on a style known as confessional poetry and eventually became acquainted with many famous authors of the day.

Anne Sexton spent the balance of her career as a highly regarded and technically proficient writer, winning many prestigious awards. Throughout that time, Sexton participated in therapy and never gave up any of her lovers.

Anne continued to suffer from mental stress, a fact that worsened after she divorced Alfred Sexton in 1973. Alone and depressed, Sexton went into a downward spiral. Anne Sexton died of self induced carbon monoxide poisoning win 1974.

Brothers Grimmappears in Entire collection

Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859), often referred to as The Brothers Grimm, were German publishers of novellas and also credited with creating popularity for a large number of fairy tales, including Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, and Sleeping Beauty.

Jacob Grimm, the eldest of the brothers, was a well known jurist and philologist who was known in part for the introduction of his works on mythology as well as the compilation of the German Dictionary.

Wilhelm Grimm was also a jurist who was politically active, a role that caused him to be fired from a prestigious post by the king.

Together, the Brothers Grimm embarked on publishing stories that had been passed down for centuries via the oral tradition. Although the brothers were not the first to publish these tales, they tended to adhere to the age-old stories rather than the more modern adaptations which were often overly academic and less popular.

The first collection of stories by The Brothers Grimm was published in 1810 and did not meet with good reviews. Throughout their careers, the writers suffered disdain from a faction of critics who believed their versions of fairy tales were too dark and violent for the ears and eyes of young and impressionable children.

Cinderellaappears in Cinderella

Fictional girl who overcomes horrible circumstances to become a princess.

Rumpelstiltskinappears in Rumpelstiltskin

Small, angry man who turns straw into gold for a price.

Friedrich Nietzscheappears in The Gold Key

German philosopher known for his theory that God is dead.

Snow Whiteappears in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Princess who was a target for assassination because of her beauty.

Sleeping Beautyappears in Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty)

Also known as Briar Rose, Sleeping Beauty is a princess who sleeps for one hundred years due to a spell.

Hansel and Gretelappears in Hansel and Gretel

Brother and sister who are sent into the woods and encounter a witch who wants to eat them.

Rapunzelappears in Rapunzel

Child who is raised in a tower and who plans to escape by letting a prince climb up her long golden hair.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.appears in Foreword, The Gold Key

Famous author and iconoclast; contemporary and acquaintance to Anne Sexton.

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