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Sylvia Plath- The Applicant

             Sylvia Plath's Poem "The Applicant", explores many issues, in particular it looks at the ideas of feminism and the role of women in a marriage. Through examining areas such as the concerns of the poet, the methods and the language used, "The Applicant's" true meanings and statements will become clear. .
             Plath's early poetry is well-crafted and traditional, but her late poems exhibit a desperate brilliance and photo-feminist cry of anguish. In "The Applicant", Plath exposes the emptiness in the role of wife, who is reduced to an inanimate "it" (VanSpanckeren 1988: p 96). She is trying to portray the way that women are represented in both marriage and society. Plath is showing how the marriage of a man and women can sometimes be seen as a business contract or, rather, a purchase. This is shown throughout the poem with lines such as, "Will you marry it? It is waterproof, shatterproof, Proof against fire and bombs through the roof (lines 22-24)". Plath has also shown to us clearly how she believes that women in society are seen as separate parts and not as complete beings. She is also trying to convey that women are seen as renewable, and you can make new ones from the dissolved sorrow of the previous. This is shown in lines 16-18; "To thumb shut your eyes at the end And dissolve of sorrow. We make new stock from the salt".
             Silvia Plath has used many poetic methods to help propel the concerns of her poem. The first of such is the structural layout of "The Applicant". The structural organization of this poem is complicated. Plath first offers some regularity through a rough organization of eight stanzas, each into five lines, but then suggests an inner struggle to problemise that regularity by enjambing the last lines of five of her stanzas into the next and employing no formal or regular rhyme scheme. Her play with the boundaries and flexibility of structure, in many ways, mirror her intertextual ambiguity of gender and subject identity in the text of the poem (Sheible 2000: 1).

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