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The Moss Of His Skin

Anne Sexton

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Added by: Linnea
As many of Sextons' poems are, this poem is about her traumatic relationship with her father. Sexton did, to some extent, believe that she was sexually abused by her father, though whether this actually happened or not is debated. However, it is clear that Sexton did indeed suffer inappropriate physical contact with her father (and also, her grandmother) and was also a victim of verbal abuse.

How this poem relates to Sextons' feelings is debatable. Her father died in 1959, and this poem was published in 1960, which means that it may have written either before or after his death. Did she feel that she "died" for him, because of his abuse? Anne is quoted as saying, whilst in a trance, something to the effect of 'the king can sleep with whoever he wants'. It appears that this has a direct relation to this poem, where young girls are sacrificed for thier fathers, basically. It's possible as well that she felt she had died with him, when he died.

I would be very interested to hear if there is any information regarding exactly how Sexton was relating to her father when this poem was written.

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