Anne Sexton Essay

2601 Words Mar 29th, 2001 11 Pages
Anne Sexton believed that the most interesting poetry was written out of personal experience. Everything she had been through, her hospitalization, her affairs, her insanity, the loss of her parents, and great-aunt, gave her things to write about. She uses poetry as one of her outlet. She writes out her problems. Her writing was a part of her therapy.
As a child, Anne Sexton had to be the center of attention, "a demanding child" (Self-Portrait in Letter 3). When Anne was younger, she thought of herself as an outcast and unwanted (Hall 3). Anne's great-aunt Nana died in July 1954. She thought the death of Nana was her fault. This was proved in some of the poetry that Anne wrote, "I knew you forever and you were always old, /
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In "Music Swims Back to Me" the speaker is child like, lost in the dark of the asylum, and trying to find the way home. She speaks in the vocabulary and cadences of a child:
Wait, Mister. Which way is home?
…………………………………………………………………..
La la la, oh music swims back to me and I can feel the tune they played the night they left me in this private institution on a hill.
(To Bedlam and Part Way Back 8) The official person, who offers advice and viewpoints, is "Mister". He is the one that can help the speaker find "home". "In this poem, music is more helpful than ‘Mister' is for it helps the speaker to remember. With the help of the music, she gains at least temporary perspective, for she can remember that ‘everyone here was crazy' when she first arrived" (Hall 19-20).
Imagine it. A radio playing and everyone here is crazy.
I liked it and danced in a circle.
Music pours over the sense and in a funny way music sees more than I.
I mean it remembers better;… (To Bedlam and Part Way Back 8)
"We know how a sudden musical phrase, or sound, or smell, can remind us in a flash a childhood memory, of the way we felt, or of where we were, when we heard or smelled it sometime in the past" (Hall 19-20). The poem plays the importance on confusion and forgetfulness, and the poem has a circular structure. The word circle, line 31, is telling the speaker there will not be answer to the opening question,

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