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A Battle with Life in Wanting to Die by Anne Sexton Essay

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A Battle with Life in Wanting to Die by Anne Sexton

The poem "Wanting to Die" by Anne Sexton, explores a battle with life which many people endure. The speaker knows of the goodness of the world, yet she is unable to truly experience it because of her suicidal tendencies. She understands her feeling as more of an obsession with death rather than a hate for life. Though the speaker is still alive, she relapses, every so often, into the darkness of her soul. Through her vivid use of imagery, Sexton creates and elucidates the speaker's susceptibility to suicide.
It is apparent from the first stanza the speaker finds her life lacking. The first lines of the poem describe the speaker's ordinary days: "Since you ask, most
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the grass blades you mention... furniture you have placed..." ( 5-6) This person seemingly hopes, as the reader does, for the speaker and wants for her every happiness. The next stanza invites the reader into the speaker's mind and soul. We learn depression is more than a hate for life, it is something one must experience to be able to relate to, as in line 7: "But suicides have a special language." This stanza also alludes to the fact that when the speaker is suicidal she refrains from looking at the big picture; instead she focuses on the few bad experiences which drive her that much deeper into depression.
The following stanza invites the reader to learn about the suicide attempts of the speaker: "Twice I have simply declared myself, / have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy, / have taken on his craft, his magic" (10 - 12). Here the reader learns of the speaker's two suicide attempts. This stanza also implies the speaker's anger toward her illness. She associates her depression as the enemy, almost as if depression were the devil in flesh coming to her, haunting her, luring her to death, a death of submission.
The fifth stanza, with its vivid images, is exceedingly descriptive in its discussion of the speaker's means of suicide: " In this way, heavy and thoughtful, / warmer than oil or water, / I have rested, drooling
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