Clashes of Self and Identity in Sylvia Plath’s Ariel by Deconstru…

Clashes of Self and Identity in Sylvia Plaths Ariel by Deconstructive Lens

Self and Identity as two separate but interconnected occurrence in deconstructive approach, have been typified outstandingly in Plaths Ariel. The derision of poetess toward the external factors, namely in social and political settings appears to be pertinent to her latest poems. The duality of Sylvia Plath as self and Plath as daughter, as her mother and others expected her to be is a crucial point in reciting her poetry. The schizoid character of postmodern identity has no option but to experience the uncanny (Brain, 65) and to confront the double(Ibid).

The attitude towards the inherent malady woven into poems in fact paves the way for deconstruction. Since deconstructing acts like a surgical operation applied to texts and works, consequently analyzing humans psyche opens a good scope in this field. The fact that every man is born with a double, the complete humans struggle is to protect this instinctive creation of double in order to preserve life. When I is repeated, the self and its replica are called to question.

There is obvious ambivalence between the personas identity and individuality in most of Plaths poems in Ariel. The despondent chant that already the most grotesque and comic poems conceal beneath their profound inner is not dissimilar to Hemingways Iceberg principal. Although every text might have an icy and substantial surface, this does not merely imply that accessing to the heart of the work is not possible.

Identity in question, Motifs of Double and Duality

To discuss the self, one should recollect nd summon up the challenging concept of Identity and its play of doubleness and duality. The whole life of an artist is summarized in one quest that is the time of action by which could find Identity. Almost unavoidable, all of Plaths poems deliberately allude to indefiniteness of gender to remove all identities possible from the narrator individuality.

To quote Tracy Brain in her blockbuster book, The Other Sylvia Plath that was one of literary breakthroughs of twenty century would be conceptualization of Identity concept regarding Sylvia Plaths own identity. Brain provides the reader with Plathian Doubleness (Brain, 121) with the amazing hint to Sylvia Plaths thesis on Dostoyevskys use of double in her mastering masterpiece, M.A project. consequently, she was not only unfamiliar with this sort of literature, focusing on characters and their doubles, but also a qualified and specialized enthusiastic about the so-called subject matter. Taking into account the doubling of her own self, the genderless speaker of Plaths Ariel with no specific nationality and gender colored a new cubism in the canvas of her poetry.

In Tulips, taken from The collected poems of Sylvia Plath edited by Ted Hughes, the personas loss of self during her hospital experience is portrayed via these lines, she weightlessly feels free from all earthly belongings that they catch onto her skin(Line 25,P.161) like little smiling hooks (Ibid):

I am nobody

I have nothing to do with explosions.

I have given my name and my day-clothes up to nurses

And my history to the anesthetist And my body to surgeons

Now I have lost myself (Lines 6-11)

Watching her identity recede, she sees the tulips and everything like the marriage affixed ring as a kind of entrapment. The petulance of speakers voice here has been mixed with artistic frenzy of its creators mind.

Entrapment of I in Ariel poems

The conceptual interpretation of I has been reiterated in Ariel poems. Ones being is shaped around this pronoun and left the modern criticism unjustified and unwarranted in superfluous understanding and perception of this mystified entity. The fact behind these repetitions affirms the unity of I, but at the same time casts it into doubt and ambiguity in addition. As in Derridas Critique cited in Porritt, (328) Surpassing Derridas Deconstructed Self …sense of self almost perishes.(328), when the unity of signified/signifier would be ruptured and ripped apart by the extension of repeated I am I, I…In another information, articulation of I is masking the absence of self, or to use Derridas terms, the voice masks an always already absent presence.

Considering the fact that I could play the external and emphatic stress for the very sign of self, nonetheless this intruding pronoun poses the legitimacy of self into question. As a matter of fact, I deceives one into fallaciously impression of a singular Self.To enlarge Derridas philosophy further, I am I am I, is as if the I is retained between two opposing mirrors. consequently, the origin appears to be unattainable since the reflection, the image, the double splits what it doubles.(325). self-identity is multiplied within the frame within frame of infinite range and as a consequence there is no self entity of I who claims I am I.

The without of self-identity emerges in one of Plaths illustrious poem titled Daddy, in which the origin of character is irretrievably lost. The poem is a notable parody of distorted identity, where the language itself has come to ease the narrators schizophrenic psyche in achieving a verbal that is true to its fragmentation and inconsistence. The instability of Daddys gender and masculinity implicitly diminish and cheapen the patriarchal supremacy and strength. To clarify the foot and the root of ones origin, in the daughter, duality of two racial heritages neutralize each other in a grotesque way. This degeneration of identity tyrannizes harshly with applying the verbal language true to this air.

Despite all doubtfulness and improbability which govern the identity in various shapes, In Lady Lazarus, Plath refers to her I-affirmation that is unavoidable:

Yes, yes Herr Professor

It is I

Can you deny? (Collected Poems p.246, Line 79)

These paradoxes of self-affirmation along with self-rejection in contradictory way have extravagantly contributed to unsteadiness of identity itself.

The fragile position of both identity and language that the poem shapes and figures around it can be observed by the repeated words, putting the idea of assurance and in addition uncertainty forward. As if the speaker seeks to draw the spectators approval and permission via repeating and rephrasing. Since replicating implies that the speaker is not confident about conveying her ideas properly. I as the most meaningful of Self- Identity has been rendered to Ich, the German equivalence for the pronoun I. Applying Ich could be deemed as a reference to Plaths double racial identity and at the same time regarded as a closure that the pronoun Ich connotes with its disarticulation and suffocation, due to consonant ending.

As a consequence, it frustrates any self-definition and this selflessness has occupied most of Plaths Ariel poems.

In contrast to I that is free and at the minimum carries liberation in its articulation, however there are some obstacles and shortcomings in its clarity and restriction of defined range, ich seems to be timid and unpronounced.

The tarnished individuality presides over the poems and the disturbing paralysis of this realization would rule the character to a sort of passivity and subjectlessness. The impossibility of any self definition makes the narrator come terrifyingly close to depersonalization and dehumanization, that method equating people and object to indicate devaluation of human life and relations. As Applicant depersonalizes humans relationships and affiliations in this way:

I noticed you are stark naked.

How about this suit-Black and stiff,

but not a bad fit.

Will you marry it? (Collected Poems p.221, Lines19-22)

Marrying to black and stiff suit is the death of all conjugal matrimony. Personification is used to undermine the integration of human beings individuality. Ariel poems are the exact mirror to question identity and everything applicable to do so. The I is retained, dismembered and equated to be taken for granted like commodity. This is the culpability and blameworthiness that the modern human has to pay for price of industrialized machinery world. Cut is looked upon as one of bright situations in point:

What a excitement–

My thumb instead of an onion

Of skin,

A flap like a hat,

Dead white.

Then that red plush (Collected Poems, P235, Lines 1-8)

To personify the injured finger here as a consequence of dismemberment, the poetess attempts to incarnate the solo finger by addressing it:

O my

Homunculus, I am ill.

I have taken a pill to kill

The thin

Papery feeling (P235, Lines 22-26)

Undoubtedfully it must be the thumb that the speaker is talking to, since it is the shortest finger, like a homunculus and dwarf.Taking the medicine as narcotic and sedative to soothe and alleviate the pain of injured finger is in fact to heal the separated and dehumanized self and consequently to kill the depersonalization that is like a papery feeling. Paper can be regarded as a white board in which the identity would define itself. But Papery feeling is flimsy and frail. Feeling like a paper is an absolute acceptance of depersonalization and devaluation of human life. Also one may assume that paper is associated with formal air and any social ritual issues. As it is before declared here that depersonalization and fragmentation is a distinguishable trait in Ariel poems, the researcher would have a preference to end this part of discussion with Sylvia Plaths apparent personification of principal images in her poem Elm, the 24th line, she fabulously writes:

The moon, also, is merciless. (Collected Poems, 192)

Assuming the moon to be merciless like a living creature is the grotesque image of demanding and reification of humans characteristics.

The objectification of self that has been atrophied and emaciated in socioeconomic air in consequence of World War II would be a justification to move toward scrutinizing the occurrence of self.

occurrence of Self

They stuck me together with glue (Collected Poems222)

To separate the complicate network of self entity would look to be unfeasible. despite the sense of self per se could be determined by what one perceives from the air. The psyche is retained within the body frame. As discussed in past section, the external representative of self, the so called I can not substantiate and prove the entity of self. In another information the inability of iin self-confirmation has cast the credibility of self into doubt and suspicion. If Iis signifier, the self as a reflector might be the signified. But vice versa is potentially probable, self as signifier and I as signified. As this interchangeable transaction exists, afterward the harmonies between I and self is like revolving a course of action, infinite, repeatable and substitutive. This incorporeal and recondite splitting up of self is perverted symbiosis of persona. Although this falsification of self makes the sustainability of humans life possible, otherwise there would not be any incentives to live upon it.

Derridas concept of self, cited in Porritt (323), argues that Derrida dismantles the concept of self as a unified, identifiable presence or entity. Derrida specifically views the self as divided, the self is consequently unable to provide a substantial foundation for meaning. In proportion to Derridas contribution to deconstruction of self (ibid), self is not a unified, singular and identifiable entity, but only a occurrence produced by human language.

The aesthetic self of artist is so susceptible and perceptive that when the quest for its definition and discovery fails, this feeling of gloom and frustration would rule the character to mental breakdown and psychological disorder. One should not ignore the fact that accessing to the resources of profound feelings often occurs in mental breakdown mood. Knowing the fact that Plath was a psychopath experiencing from psychic collapse sporadically, that is why Plaths hospital writing is complete of delicate and passionate description and sketch. The tangible fluctuation between self-loathing and self-recognition would rule the persona to a sort of schizophrenic disposition along with experiencing polarities of a self that has been divided and fragmented in this ill at ease situation of mind.

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