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After reading the poem “Her Kind” by Anne Sexton a lot of thought and emotion arises. It leaves a lot to be questioned and can be interpreted in many different ways depending on the reader. I perceive it as the author symbolically describing her experience with manic episodes that she endured, but she describes it all in the second person perspective. She writes of a “witch” who is dark spirited, “twelve fingered”, mentally abnormal, and isolated from her community.
I translate her description of the “witch” as a oman simply experiencing her darkest hour.
She is angry, hurt, conflicted, depressed and prefers to shy away from others. She feels unaccepted, misunderstood, and monstrous. She is experiencing enraged behavior due to the lack of comfort within herself; A crazy woman consumed by her own thoughts. The Author describes the “witch” finding “Shelter in the woods”. I’m unsure if she’s referring to an actual physical place, but I believe it is symbolic for a state of mind she goes into.
The “woods” is her mental safe house so to speak.
Fixed the suppers for the worms and elves” I interpreted as her calming her own thoughts of mischievous interference (as per elves), and when she speaks of worms she’s referring to the slow consumption of her mental health which she is trying to fight. “Whining, rearranging and disaligned ” is referencing the “witches” thought pattern and process. She has constant unorganized, racing and droneful cognition. I translate the conclusion of the poem as the description of the Author’s, Anne Sextons, reluctant, yet necessary hospitalization.
Symbolically, she is being transported to the hospital and as she “waved” her “nude arms at the villages going by’ theoretically it is her putting up a fight during her transport. “Learning her last bright routes, survivor” I decipher as the advisement of the treatment options available to her at the hospital. “Where your flames still bite my thigh” and “my ribs crack as your wheels wind” I depict as her receiving a shot to induce sedation and her fighting while being restrained and that the closer she gets to the hospital the ore she feels a sense of regret and shame.
She is embarrassed that her mental deficiency has come to this point and she wasn’t strong enough to gain control of herself. “A woman like that is not ashamed to die” to me says she is so distressed, meek, humiliated, and fatigued by her mental instability, that death to her would not be a negative occurrence, if anything, she welcomes it and sees it as a way out. “Her Kind” is a very strong poem and is a very insightful look into a woman’s head ho is unbalanced and a bit unhinged.
I feel sympathetic for Anne Sexton, who I have affirmatively believe the poem is regarding. It appears that she struggled with her illness and had to go through a lot to try to get some sort of mental stability. It seems aggravating, painful, and burdensome to have uncontrollable thoughts of anger, sorrow, rage, and shame. The poem suggests that Anne Sexton fought an intricate battle which sadly came to an end by her own hand. “Her Kind” by Anne Sexton Analysis By katal
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