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description Journal article public Journal of Critical Studies in Language and Literature

Picture Perfect: Anne Sexton's “the Double Image” Reflects the Poet as Daughter, Mother, and Anorectic

Jessica Mehta
Published 2020

Abstract

Anne Sexton's poem “The Double Image” is explored, delving into the complexities of the role of the author as confessional poet, daughter, mother, and anorectic. This piece begins by noting the differences between the final published piece and the earlier drafts of the poem, focusing on the subtle differences and attempting to decipher why these changes were made. The significance of Sexton's childhood home in the poem is noted, as this is seen to infantilise the author and creates a narcissistic regression often seen in anorectic patients. Sexton's recurrent mouth imagery is addressed, as it is the gateway for food (or lack thereof) and plays a crucial role in the works of Sexton throughout her work and life. This topic is further developed into using hunger and eating metaphorically by Sexton, noting that as a daughter she engulfed everything in her mother's world. The placement of the portraits in the poem is another aspect that Sexton changes consistently throughout the drafts and this piece delves into theories of the significance the position of the portraits might have had. This piece ends with the importance the color green has for the author in her work, possibly linking it to the choice of using green for the wicked within the original technicolor version of The Wizard of Oz (LeRoy & Fleming, 1939).

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