Sylvia Plath After the Bomb

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“It is the texts that passionately and intelligently engage with the changing reality of their period that we value most highly.” Write an essay in which you explore the extent to which this is true of the texts you have studied in your elective. (Two Plath poems, one additional text) The texts that passionately and intelligently engage with the changing reality of their period are the texts that challenge society’s views. They become the texts we value most highly as they make us question old values and progress in our ways of thinking as a society. The most highly valued texts are the ones that change opinions – that make people understand different perspectives and see issues in new ways. Sylvia Plath was a poet and author who deeply and thoughtfully engaged with the period in which she lived, which was rapidly evolving and developing. This is clear in her poems “Morning Song” and “The Applicant” as well as her novel, The Bell Jar. Plath passionately challenged many social expectations, such as the expectations placed upon females as well as pressures on men – the expectations of “the perfect life”. She also challenged consumerism. Because of the way that she engaged with and challenged the changing reality of her period, her contribution to the literary world is valued most highly. The social expectations of women are addressed in both “Morning Song” and “The Applicant”. In the 60’s, there was a strong societal view that motherhood was the greatest thing that could happen to a woman, and that having children was God’s gift, one of the only jobs women have – in some cases, this notion remains today. “Morning Song”, however, presents a controversial perspective on bearing children – the persona in the poem is bitter about having a child, instead of overjoyed. There is a lack of feeling throughout the poem, and particularly in the first half, a huge
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