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The Colossus

The Colossus

by Sylvia Plath

Women and Femininity Theme

Some have said that "The Colossus" is more than a poem about a lady mourning her father. You could also say that it's about the power that men have over all women in society. So, the speaker could be kind of an everywoman of sorts, and the whole "dutiful daughter serving her father" thing could represent the way women are under the thumb of men in male-dominated societies. And—let's get real folks—that's pretty much every society around these days.

Questions About Women and Femininity

  1. In what ways does the speaker cast herself in the role of a stereotypically submissive female serving a man?
  2. In what ways does the male figure in the poem seem to dominate the speaker's life?
  3. Does the speaker show herself to be empowered at all? If so, in what ways? If not, why not?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The speaker can't really blame the male-figure for entrapping her, since he's dead. In the end, she's trapping herself. Break those chains, girlfriend.

The speaker shows that she's been so damaged by the disempowering nature of dude-dominated society that she finds it totally impossible to live her own life. Bad times.

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