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Analysis

Personal Emotional Honesty

Anne Sexton's known as a confessional poet for good reason: she's got no problem laying her life and her emotions on the line for her readers. Heck, just about every line in this poem includes an "I" in there somewhere, which is a pretty good clue as to how willing the speaker of this poem is to discuss her life.

Sure, folks have railed on Sexton for laying her life bare – but if our love affair with Twitter updates and Facebook status posts is any indication, she's not the only one. In fact, in many ways, Sexton's confessional style is a precursor to our modern obsession with self-help and self-expression. Sure, she wrote in the '60s and '70s – but this was a poet who could see the future.

Don't confuse Sexton's emotional honesty with goopy, smarmy, soap opera-like tell-alls, though. There's a wry, ironic, and occasionally hostile tone to her work. After all, in this poem, society's part of the reason that she's an outsider. And there's a good chance that her readers are, well, part of society. We've got to admit, it makes her emotional disclosures a whole lot more interesting.

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