Psychoanalytically Analyzing the Poetry of Sylvia Plath Essay

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The poetry of Sylvia Plath can be interpreted psychoanalytically. Sigmund Freud believed that the majority of all art was a controlled expression of the unconscious. However, this does not mean that the creation of art is effortless; on the contrary it requires a high degree of sophistication. Works of art like dreams have both a manifest content (what is on the surface) and latent content (the true meaning). Both dreams and art use symbolism and metaphor and thus need to be interpreted to understand the latent content. It is important to maintain that analyzing Plaths poetry is not the same as analyzing Plath; her works stand by themselves and create their own fictional world. In the poems Lady Lazarus, Daddy and Electra on Azalea Path …show more content…
As the child grows up society’s rules and restrictions prevent the child from acting the way it wants to act, from being truly free, these rules can also be called the ego. In essence primary narcissism is lack of separation: there is no line between what the child wants and what it can have, there is no line between the conscious and the unconscious, there is no separation between the child and the incestuous love object (mother or father). Thus, when an object is lost the desire to bring it back is also the desire to return to primary narcissism. The only other time we return to the true state of primary narcissism is through death. There are however, ways that can bring the subject and the object closer together, by blurring the separation. These methods include oral fixation, sadomasochism and regression, all of which are motifs in Plath’s poetry. The purpose of all of these mechanisms is to attempt to return to a state of primary narcissism and therefore to reunite with the incestuous love object.
The first important motif in Plath’s poetry is the focus on the mouth or the oral. The oral stage is the first stage of psychoanalytic development where the infant receives gratification from stimulation to the mouth. The first source of gratification is the breast; in the beginning the infant can have the breast whenever they want, there is no separation between the infant

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