by Anne Sexton
Her Kind Theme of Gender
Here's the thing about witches: they're all women. Ever notice how there are no men jumping around boiling cauldrons these days? Or, um, ever? Well, that's probably why Anne Sexton in "Her Kind" chooses to exploit the image of a purely fictional, purely female figure as the symbol of all the things that people fear about women. That, folks, is a not-so-subtle way to break open a conversation about all the other stereotypes which have been tacked onto women over the course of history. Believe us, there are more than a few. More importantly, though, Sexton stakes a claim to both the scariness and the strength of her images. Women aren't always sweet. Sometimes they're scary. And that can be a good thing.
Questions About Gender
- What sort of picture of women does this poem create?
- Do you think that this poem is about all women or just the strange ones? What in the poem leads you to this conclusion?
- Do you think that this poem describes women from a specific time period? (Does it seem dated now? Why or why not?)
Chew on This
The poem depicts women as being healers and helpers.
This poem is about all women, for the speaker says she has “been her kind,” suggesting that she is no longer “her kind” but has evolved into something else.