by Anne Sexton
Analysis: Sound Check
This is one plain speakin' poem, folks. If you're looking for hysterical rants about the unfairness of life or elaborate philosophical reflections on the role of women in the modern world, you might want to try somewhere else. Then again, "Her Kind" is just a bit more interesting than most of the hysterical rants or philosophical meditations you're likely to come across. Maybe that's because Anne Sexton manages to sound like she's musing to herself and sending out a proclamation to the world all at the same time.
One of the ways she manages to address the personal and the political at the same time is by crafting stanzas that end with the same line: as you read it aloud, it begins to sound like both a personal mantra and a campaign slogan. (Notice how, when you read the poem, you become the "I" the poem describes? That's one of the oldest tricks in the poetry book, folks. And Sexton is using it to her advantage.)
There are a few small signs that the poem's sonic qualities have been carefully crafted: notice, for example, how "witch" and "woman" both start with the letter "w," which makes it seem like the words have a natural connection. It's almost as if Sexton is exploiting the ways that this connection points to a larger social pattern of thought. (After all, aren't all women witches?)
Other than a rather traditional rhyme scheme (see "Rhyme, Form, and Meter" for our thoughts on that), though, Sexton values everyday language over the carefully crafted. Heck, there aren't even that many words with many syllables in this poem! It rolls off the tongue like, well, everyday speech. Maybe that's a way for Anne Sexton to point out how this speaker is as normal as everyone else.