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The Abortion

Anne Sexton

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Added by: vilma Navaros
Anne Sexton's work is an outdated product of early feminist dogma
Added by: cori
its clear in this poem that she realizes in the end that abortion is wrong...the very last lines say it all...she's telling herself to quit being a coward and realize that she killed a child
Added by: kjgill
Sexton's meditations here are not "outdated dogma" but rather a product of blatent honesty. True to her style.
Added by: tim
i dont think she says abortion is worng at all...she says "somebody who should have been born is gone"

she doesnt say that that somebody is dead, but says gone

"to loss without death" also shows that she doesnt believe the abortion killed the baby
I think he's worng
Added by: Lisa G.
The only way a person who was fluent in English and possessed normal mental faculties could read this poem and not judge the poetic voice as being critical of abortion, especially its effect on the woman, would be if (1) the person was male and (2) the person allowed his own obvious opinions and/or experiences to color his interpretation. Why would the poet feel so much pain and remorse over a decision she felt was the right one? The poem definitely suggests deep feelings of dejection and grief at the loss of the unborn child, feelings that are compounded by society's refusal to acknowledge the loss as a true "death."
Added by: kym
most of you have little idea about what Sexton is even attempting to acheive through the writing of her peotry. it's amusing to see those try hards who think they do though!!!!
Added by: Linnea
well then, by all means Kym, enlighten us! thats typical cowardice-tell us that we're wrong but dont offer up your own opinion. how would you know what sexton was trying to say, have you met her?

and, Ms well then, by all means Kym, enlighten us! thats typical cowardice-tell us that we're wrong but dont offer up your own opinion. how would you know what sexton was trying to say, have you met her?

now, Ms. Vilma Navaros, dont you think that time time anne sexton lived in wouldve had an effect on her poetry? whether she was spouting feminism on not (and she was not) is irrelivant, you seem to have a lack of understanding on basic variables that influence creative writing.
Added by: James
Sexton's work is not about 'outdated' femminism. Certainly, her poems are explicitly expressed through the lens of womanhood and that is because Sexton was a woman. Like all great poetry she used the personal to underline the wider concerns of the world. One of the most important things that makes poetry works is that it is true; that it doesn't sound like makebelieve, even if it is (which I doubt this poem is). Had a man written a poem on the same subject from the view point of a woman I think it ultimately would have rung hollow.

Certainly, men CAN write about women and woman CAN write about men but you cannot say just because Sexton chose a subject that is alien to mens' understanding of life that it is 'femminist'-rather it is about the feminine. The fact that the first comment also claims that the attitude is 'outdated' means that he has not thought carefully about the subject - surely it is outdated only if abortion is nolonger practiced?

Whether Sexton views abortion as evil or not is more ambivalent. Certainly, she is not recommending abortion but afterall she did go through the proceedure which 'took the fullness that love began'. The '...love began' line is interesting as it places the abortion as the end result of love. Sexton had her children taken into care and spent time in mental institutions (suffering from seveal nervous breakdowns) so she was well aware of how love began things that ended unpleasantly. This I think is the 'logic' which 'lead(s) to loss without death'. She has to balance her knowledge of herself and the life she can afford for the child with her own personal selfishness at not wanting the child and her horror that she is terminating a life she has helped to create.
the abortion
Added by: Emma
I don't think Sexton is saying abortion is right or wrong, but that it is a necessity; and just because the abortion was necessary, it doesn't make it any less painful for the speaker.
Added by: Jessica
I think the poem is about necessity, too. I haven't ever had an abortion, but I have been pregnant, and I can imagine that the emotional aftershock of going through something like that would be similar to the way she describes it. How life is just a series of moments, and this one is a sick one, a moment of realization of what has happened, a moment of sorrow for her loss, a moment of guilt, a moment of self hatred. The speaker knows that essentially the action was a brutal one. Not necessarily wrong, but real, painful, and brutal. Notice how the very last word is "bleed," as if she wants to accentuate the vividness of what an abortion really is. There is a lot happening here, and it can't be limited to a spectrum of "right and wrong," we have to consider the vast infiniteness of human emotions.
Just my two cents.

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