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Sylvia's Death

Anne Sexton

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the death that i wanted for so long
Added by: Alexis
It seems almost as if exton is in a way jealous of Sylvia's suicide. I know they were friends and things, but I am almost tempted to believe that a large factor of Sexton's death was Sylvia previous suicide.
Added by: ct
Sexton & Plath were a sort of death friends, according to what I've read in interviews and journals...ect. They discussed at length their first suicide attempts, retelling the tale in beautiful, loving detail (or so I read)... found a common obsession with death: the two hungered for it as much as one might hunger for life. So yes, Sexton was, perhaps, envious.
Added by: heath
Yes, envy is the right word. But I think the envy also had to do with their careers. Anne spoke about suicide being a major "career move" for a poet. Plath only really gained international acclaim after her death; this was acclaim Anne wanted. There was a kind of notoriety given to Plath after her suicide which, I think, drew attention away from Anne. They were major competitors.
Added by: Linnea
i actually have a slightly different take on this.

these two women were very troubled, and the sort of friendships that two people who both have, what doctors call 'mental health issues', are intense and deep and complicated like nothing you can imagine. i dont think any of us will ever truly understand everything in this poem, it seems like something sexton wanted to say to plath, more than something she wanted the general public to comprehend.

and yes, there was probably jealousy, but i also get the impression that sexton is in some way, angry at plath. angry because she feels abandoned.
Added by: Tiffany
Except that Sexton achieved critical acclaim while living. She won a Pulitzer for her work. I think she was indeed envious, but not because of Plath's notoriety after suicide. I think she was envious that Plath finally got what she hoped for.. peace in dying. And Sexton got that eventually as well.
Sylvia and Anne
Added by: Morney
Sylvia and Anne were friends. There was also an underlying rivalry because of their writing.

They 'bonded' at first over talk of their experiences of mental illness and suicide attempts.

When Sylvia died, Anne was very upset. She was also at that point, for once, feeling better herself - when she heard about Sylvia, she began to plummet into depression again (triggered off thinking about it, thinking about their talks about it all etc.) - she also felt angry.

It was NOT a large part of why she killed herself in the end.

She attempted suicide many many times. She was different from Sylvia in that she believed it wasn't a question of IF she would commit suicide, it was just a question of WHEN. Her anger with Sylvia was partly because she felt that WHEN she committed suicide, people would think she was copying Sylvia. She also felt that it would reverse their positions on the 'fame ladder' (which it did - and still has to some extent, despite the fact that Anne Sexton committed suicide too). Therefore, the often quoted comment she made to her psychiatrist "That was MY death." It shouldn't be thought that this means she was just angry about it. It was a complicated mess of emotions for her.

She was deeply upset about it as well - which this poem shows.

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