ADVANTAGES

This poem has intrigued me since I first read as a teenager in high school in the snowy mountains of Western Massachusetts. I do feel that a great deal of it is autobiographical but it also has inspiration from disparate sources. None of us is that simple that one experience or one feeling defines us completely, and the same is true of Sylvia Plath. There was so much more to her than her suicide attempts; there was so much more to her than being married to Ted Hughes; there was so much more to her than being a mother; there was so much more to her than being a poet - and I think that that is what those last two lines indicate - that in her world, in her lifetime, it was okay, even normal, expected for a man to have multiple facets of his character, but a woman was, to the public, one dimensional, and she was not - and in fact she has risen, to overcome that dominate male perpetuation of what a woman is in her lifetime, because she goes on after her lifetime. A brilliant piece of poetry that I intend to use with my students out here in male dominated Saudi Arabia!

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