Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Henry Hart

Committee Members

Susan Donaldson

Jennifer Putzi

Victoria Castillo


Despite their complex poetry, the critical scholarship of Sylvia Plath and Adrienne Rich has been dominated by oversimplistic and reductive biographical and feminist readings that fail to engage with the nuanced texts. By contrast, this paper intends to examine these poets through a post-structuralist feminist framework. Not only does such a perspective challenge pre-existing critical assumptions of both poets’ work, but it also draws attention to their key differences: their treatment of selfhood and history. In Ariel, Plath’s rejection of a final, transcendent telos informs a poetics that challenges the romantic humanist view of the uniform subject predicated on logocentrism. Diving into the Wreck, by contrast, relies on a linear, teleological view of history and language in order to reify a stable subject necessary for liberation.

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Creative Commons License
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