“Being born a woman is an awful tragedy… Yes, my consuming desire to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, bar room regulars - to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording - all is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yet, God, I want to talk to everybody I can as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night…”
We’re taught by popular culture to think of Sylvia Plath as a maudlin hysteric, a death-obsessed suicide with her head permanently wedged in the oven, and this is what I thought of her, too. Then I actually read her poetry.
I found a kindred spirit, a woman whose dreams were too grand for the little body given her, whose only defense against the great forces inside her was a dark sense of humor about her cage and her jailers. It’s seemed to me sometimes that we are compelled to love a world that both expects it, and feels no obligation to love us back.