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Of Letters and of Sciences

Welcome! This is a blog about literature and books that are critical to any social discourse: literary, cultural, racial, gender-based. A blog for humanists, scholars, the curious, and thinkers and thinkeresses.

Sylvia Plath and Race Article



This. is a stupendous but short analysis of the racial imagery Plath uses in her poetry. Brilliant. It goes beyond class and '60s politics, beyond gender, and equates Plath's use (some would say "exploitation") of Judaism and "Jewishness" with people of African descent. The same privilege or leave that Plath evidently feels in metaphorically comparing herself to a Jewish woman whilst playing upon images of her German father as a Nazi (he is was not one) is extended and maliglantly magnified when it comes to people of colour, from her equation of bees with "Africans"--like "clamoring blackness", to her use of "light" and "dark", to her frankly-shocking line about the "negress with pink paws" in The Jailer.

A must and a foundational beginning to anyone studying Plath and the social ramifications of her words. I've been wrestling/confused with her colour imagery for a long time, holding it at arm's length, wondering if it was intentionally racialized, and, if so, why. The author of this article does a brilliant job.


It's about 6 pages. Read it.