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Analysis Of Initiation By Sylvia Plath

Decent Essays
In the short story “Initiation” by Sylvia Plath, Millicent Arnold is a narcissistic teenager undergoing her initiation into the most prestige social group at Lansing High. Despite being aware of the risk at losing her best friend, Tracy, Millicent eagerly seeks the opportunity to be part of a close-knit group and as a result, she is mistreated and forced to conform to the group’s narrow standards. Plath explains how being part of a social group does not necessarily help one grow individually, but rather assimilates them into what is portrayed as esteemed social status. As Millicent goes through the downgrading initiation process, she discovers the value of friendship and realizes that being associated with a certain group will not help her achieve confidence in her true self.
Firstly, the story introduces Millicent at the end of her grueling initiation about to be granted entry into a very prestige social group. She states “her case would be different” (199) implying that despite getting so far in her initiation, something changes her mind and her ultimate decision to not join the sorority. She is clearly quite proud of herself and is amused at her exclusive position being one of the elect. This sense of pride is further enhanced by her best friend, Tracy’s support and encouragement. It is evident how badly Millicent wants to be part of the sorority considering that “Millicent had waited a long time for acceptance, longer than most” (200). After years of wistfully looking
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