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Anne Sexton : The Dark Side

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Caleb Winfrey Professor Harris English 102 27 July 2015 Anne Sexton: The Dark Side Mental illness is a taboo subject that has plagued people throughout time. Poet Anne Sexton was one of them. She struggled throughout her entire life, like many others have struggled. She was lost and depressed—misunderstood. Sexton’s childhood was surrounded by abuse. To cope, Sexton wrote poetry to describe her struggle with mental illness. Her verses express her feelings of helplessness as her life plunged into a downward spiral. Sexton poured her heart and soul into her writing, expressing her emotions on paper, resulting in raw, powerful, beautiful poetry. Although Sexton’s life ended prematurely, the impact of her writings on the reader opens a door to discussions about mental illness. It continues to help others cope with their own issues. Born November 9, 1928, in Newton, Massachusetts, Anne Gray Harvey was the daughter of a successful businessman. In 1947, at the age of 19, Harvey married Alfred Muller Sexton II, changing her name to Anne Sexton (Poets.org). Six years later, Sexton gave birth to her first child, Linda, to whom she passed down the same childhood abuse that she had received (“Anne Sexton’s Controversy”). The following year, at the age of 26, Sexton suffered her first mental breakdown and was admitted to a neuropsychiatric hospital after being diagnosed with postpartum depression. This marked the beginning of her life long battle with mental illness. In 1955,
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