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As a mother of two,
Plath’s stages of motherhood had a great impact on her poetry. She was not
afraid to examine the darker concepts of motherhood where “maternity is not a
positive revelation in some women’s lives” or address a woman’s “real
experiences”. Through her short life, she was continuously conflicted on the
maternal topic as she was aware she could not “have it all”, implying a family
and a career as a successful writer. For her existed only two options, either
to take control of her life but fail to live up to society’s expectations on
the roles of a woman and potentially live a lonely existence or give all power
to a man and lose herself to domesticity. Therefore, Plath viewed motherhood as
a very black or white concept with no middle ground and to her it was a
constant battle for power, power to the self or power to the man. It was
evident through many of her poems that she loved her children dearly, however
what she opposed was the ideology set by a male-dominating society. She did not
want to be resigned completely into the role of a mother by the manipulative
society. Plath was able to live her dream when she was given opportunities to
pursue a career in writing and she did not let her marriage to Ted Hughes at
the age of 24, get in the way of her academic career. However, then came the
arrival of their first baby together and Plath was now forced to take on the
role of the typical American housewife. Although she considered herself a
gifted writer, and was very keen to continue pursuing a career in the field,
she was tied down by domesticity and motherhood. Through Plath’s poetry on the
topic of motherhood, her conflicting attitudes towards the concept are quite
evident with many switching perspectives within a matter of years. Motherhood
led Sylvia Plath to create some of her most optimistic as well as some of her
darkest pieces of poetry ranging from maternal love to resentment. 

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