Love, Sex and the Body in The Bell Jar and My Story: A Feminist Reading
Subrata Chandra Mozumder
Abstract: This paper seeks to explore the themes of love, sex, and the body in The Bell Jar and My Story, two much-read autobiographical texts by Sylvia Plath and Kamala Das respectively, which reveal the writers’ feminist “self.” These books were published in the mid-twentieth century when women started fighting for their individual freedom by interrogating patriarchal hegemony responsible for delimiting women’s familial, social, economic, educational, industrial, and political rights. Both Plath and Das possess unconventional approaches towards love, sex, and the body. Their texts come out as threats to the patriarchal practice which pushes women to “stay at home, cook meals, clean house and bear children” (Lamb 1). For these poets, the woman’s body, which patriarchy mostly considers an object of sexual pleasure, is a significant tool for transgressing the dictums of patriarchy. The present study, therefore, aims at showing the themes of love, sex, and the body in the above mentioned texts as a means for the poets to interrogate patriarchal restraints and to create a new identity with self-esteem and self-worth. In this way, they refuse to accept the hegemonic role of oppression and assert their gender identity.
Keywords: love, sex, body, The Bell Jar, My Story, feminist reading
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Published in 2017