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Her Kind

Her Kind

by Anne Sexton

Analysis: What's Up With the Title?

"Her Kind" is just a repetition of the poem's refrain, right? Well, yes. And also not exactly. For starters, the poem's title doesn't exactly mimic the poem's favorite line. It leaves out the first-person declaration which starts the refrain ("I have been…"). Without the starting words, the title starts to sound more like a third-person reprise of the line. It tricks us into thinking that we're reading about an "I" who's not at all self-reflexive – only to find out at the end of the first stanza that she's actually very aware of who she is and how others see her. It's the difference between staring at someone through a one-way mirror and watching someone stare at themselves in the mirror. We're not necessarily the audience in this poem – our speaker is. We just happen to be brought along for the ride.

The title of this poem doesn't exactly give anything away. We know that we're going to learn about the community in which our speaker lives – except, well, we don't ever encounter real-life people. In fact, the only people that our speaker discusses may or may not be elaborate conceits for her own identity. (Want to know what a "conceit" is? Check out our "Symbols, Imagery, and Wordplay" section for answers.)

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