Women's Fight Against Social Convention in Sylvia Plath's Poem, Ariel

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Women's Fight Against Social Convention in Sylvia Plath's Poem, Ariel "Ariel" is the title poem from Sylvia Plath's controversial collection of poetry written during the last few months of her life in 1963. The traditional gender roles of 1960s America promoted a double-standard and wrongly imposed upon women the idea of a "Happy Housewife Heroine" who cherished "the receptivity and passivity implicit in (her) nature" and was "devoted to (her) own beauty and (her) ability to bear and nurture children" (Friedan, 59). Plath comments on the devastating effects of social convention on individuality, but she realizes that both sexes are affected by society's oppression of its members. She contemplates this theme throughout Ariel,…show more content…
Ariel by Sylvia Plath Stasis in darkness. Then the substanceless blue Pour of tor and distances. God's lioness, How one we grow, Pivot of heels and knees!--The furrow Splits and passes, sister to The brown arc Of the neck I cannot catch, Nigger-eye Berries cast dark Hooks--- Black sweet blood mouthfuls, Shadows. Something else Hauls me through air--- Thighs, hair; Flakes from my heels. White Godiva, I unpeel--- Dead hands, dead stringencies. And now I Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas. The child's cry Melts in the wall. And I Am the arrow, The dew that flies Suicidal, at one with the drive Into the red Eye, the cauldron of morning. The struggle connoted by the title is first described as "Stasis in darkness;" it is characterized as hopeless and unchanging as a result of the stasis of women's stereotypical role in society at the time. Plath continues to point out that hope should not be given up, however, because there is a "blue/ Pour of tor and distances" that provides a glimpse of something better on the horizon of women's rights. In the second stanza we see the courage inherent in women's struggle for equality personified by "God's lioness." "The neck I cannot catch" represents the elusive goal of the women's rights movement, equality. The temptations to women in their traditional roles are bittersweet; "Nigger-eye/ Berries cast dark/ Hooks---." Berries,

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