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The Applicant Analysis



Author: poem of Sylvia Plath Type: poem Views: 28


First, are you our sort of a person?
Do you wear
A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch,
A brace or a hook,
Rubber breasts or a rubber crotch,

Stitches to show something's missing? No, no? Then
How can we give you a thing?
Stop crying.
Open your hand.
Empty? Empty. Here is a hand

To fill it and willing
To bring teacups and roll away headaches
And do whatever you tell it.
Will you marry it?
It is guaranteed

To thumb shut your eyes at the end
And dissolve of sorrow.
We make new stock from the salt.
I notice you are stark naked.
How about this suit----

Black and stiff, but not a bad fit.
Will you marry it?
It is waterproof, shatterproof, proof
Against fire and bombs through the roof.
Believe me, they'll bury you in it.

Now your head, excuse me, is empty.
I have the ticket for that.
Come here, sweetie, out of the closet.
Well, what do you think of that ?
Naked as paper to start

But in twenty-five years she'll be silver,
In fifty, gold.
A living doll, everywhere you look.
It can sew, it can cook,
It can talk, talk , talk.

It works, there is nothing wrong with it.
You have a hole, it's a poultice.
You have an eye, it's an image.
My boy, it's your last resort.
Will you marry it, marry it, marry it.

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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||




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'how about this suit- black and stiff, but not a bad fit.' Plath's description of marriage is a black suit, h portraying it as a facade, on the surface it seems like the ideal institution, however Plath suggests marriage is 'stiff', something you are stuck with, once married a woman becomes a 'living doll' an object for a mans libido. It is interesting to see that marriage is almost unwanted by both the man and woman, it is something they are both forced into by society which is the third voice of the poem.

| Posted on 2014-05-03 | by a guest


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As an introduction to the poem, the interviewer appears to be trying to identify the applicant\'s deficient physicality. No glass eye, no crutch, no rib missing?
So what is this claim of need? Your hands are empty? Well we \'ll soon fix that. Don\'t cry. We\'ll give you what you lack, care, compassion and at your end the salt tears of grief, because the stiff unyielding \"suit\" of marriage (which may suit very little in practice) is lasting and bomb proof. First the paper anniversary, then the twenty fifth silver, and finally the gold anniversary of fifty years. Your head is as empty as your hands, but marriage will be the poultice to comfort and conceal your lack. How else to deal with your problem? Marry it, marry it, marry it.

| Posted on 2013-02-12 | by a guest


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The poem describes the stereotypes expected of a woman and expresses the anguish, humiliation and pain associated to being a woman in the 60\'s. She is physically scanned and judged before being taken in for a wife as if her basic role is that of fulfilling a man\'s sexualneeds. she is checked if she has any \"rubber breasts\" or \"crotch\".She is expected to fulfil all the traditional roles expected of a woman, like stitching,sewing and cooking and be an emotional support too at the time of need.Basically she is out there to give and does not ever ask for anything in this relationship.She is treated like a doll which can be handled anyway and has none of her own will. The use of the pronoun \"it\" shows her dehumanisation and utter lack of respect in this marital accord. Towards the end she is the man\'s last resort as he has to settle down for a relationship against his flirtish tendencies.

| Posted on 2011-12-03 | by a guest


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In the poem \'The Applicant\', Sylvia Plath expresses her disgust and anger towards the clearly defined gender roles that underpin the 1960\'s. Society had recently experienced the horrific nature of World War Two. The war appeared senseless in nature with thousands of innocent civilians brutally murdered in the attempted holocaust of the Jews. This terrified the Western World. There was a lack of stability and an abundance of senseless destruction. In light of this western society retreated back to conservatism in an attempt to gain contol over an uncontrollable world. This brought gender roles into the limelight. Society felt safe when they were in control and they were able to control their world through the strict implementation of gender roles. Men were expected to be the breadwinners and women were meant to raise the children, clean the house, cook the meals and appease men in bed. This clear distinction can be seen through the title of the work \'The Applicant\'. Men are able to choose their profession, their direction. They fill in applications which is an action of taking control of their lives. This is juxtaposed against the ambiguous, anonymous woman \"It can sew, it can cook,/ It can talk, talk, talk.\" The use of the pronoun \'it\' creates an image of woman as an object, a possession. This is because woman only has one role. There is no perceived control over their direction or situation as they are expected to obey their patriachal figures.

| Posted on 2011-03-13 | by a guest


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This is a test posting. My students will be posting analysis on \"The Applicant\" next week.

| Posted on 2011-03-10 | by a guest


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I think this poem is being satirical towards marriage, men and women. It is expressing marriage as having to apply for it and it also expresses that women have no choice in the matter and that no matter how hopeless, worthless and pathetic the man is, they can still get a wife.

| Posted on 2011-03-08 | by a guest


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In many ways Plath’s Ariel is a bleak exploration of the constrained lives of women in the mid 20th Century”
With close reference to ‘‘The Applicant’’ discuss how Plath presents the theme of the female role.
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) is a poet whose troubled life and powerful work remains a source of controversy. “The Applicant” was written in 1962 and published by her husband in the collection of poems Ariel in 1965. The creative poet Sylvia Plath had gained a high level of recognition not only through her deep verses but even more through her disturbed life, caused by agonizing x Applicant” in my opinion is a humorous verse that conveys the poet\'s sarcastic comment about marriage whilst criticizing society\'s typical ideas about what a wife and husband should be. There seems to be three people included in this poem which are a man, a woman and the speaker. The poem takes the form of a monologue interview where the hectoring speaker interviews a weeping male with a goal of finding him a wife. If it could be visualized, the poem would be like a job interview scenario where a male sits at a desk opposite the interviewer. 
The poem includes eight quatrains which are made up of mostly short snappy lines. There is also a lot of repetition used in order to increase the pace. The rhyming is sporadic in this poem however there is quite a few half rhymes. Plath has used sibilance throughout this poem as though words are being hissed out and spitting of \'s\', \'ch\' and \'th\' sounds. This reinforced the anger and irritable nature of the speaker.

| Posted on 2010-12-05 | by a guest


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I think this poem is an accurate description of the basic criteria a man set\'s out when selecting a prospective wife. It might be out-dated now, but, it still holds a certain weight to it, and I dont feel plath\'s feminism is really a focal point of the poem.

| Posted on 2010-10-17 | by a guest


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A view of marriage. An example of what it feels like to try to fill this traditional role while dealing with her creative process. The womans role not being one born of creativity leaves the woman hollow, a hired applicant at a job that resticts her from herself.

| Posted on 2010-07-25 | by a guest


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This poem is a very humorous verse that shows the authors sarcastic comments about marriage. Plath makes a declaration against stereotypical ideals that are imposed by society about the true meanings of what a marriage relationship is. In other words the author is criticizing societys typical ideas about what a wife and a husband should be.

| Posted on 2009-08-11 | by a guest


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This poem is written by one of the most psychotic, depressive maniacal feminists (male haters) ever to exist. The poem itself highlights her saddistic lifestyle and views on life. Whilst marriage itself is too often stereotyped and well misjudged, Plath makes it seem as though marriage is an inescapable nightmare. Society may only hope that mentally unstable and harmful individuals such as her cannot do not rummage through the streets.

| Posted on 2009-03-01 | by a guest


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Sylvia Plaths The Applicant
Gladys Malibiran, Junior
The well-renowned poet Sylvia Plath had gained a high level of recognition not only through her potent verses but even more so through her tumultuous life, plagued by agonizing circumstances. However, the poem The Applicant is a reflection of another depth of emotion, seemingly incongruous to torment, called humor. More precisely, her particular style is intermingled with sarcasm and acerbic commentaries on the state of marriage. By exemplifying stereotypical roles, Plaths words embody a caustic irony. This, in turn, reflects the decade in which the poem was written, a momentous era of awakening of repressed feminism in the 1960s. Marriage, therefore, is portrayed as an absurdly narrow existence perpetrated by weak men and obliviously tolerant women within cultural paradigms.
With this poem, Plath makes a statement against the ideals society imposes on what true functions a wife and husband serve. Women are generally characterized as docile, fragile creatures who should serve as unwavering epitomes of loyalty. Mockingly, the poet suggests that such women eventually become automated, mechanical versions of a person. Men, similarly, are then portrayed to desire and accept these qualities as inherent or necessary to being good women. Plath also calls marriage the mans last resort, implying the impotence or incompleteness for which the woman would be able to compensate.
There is a contestable argument to what the author implies to be more at fault. Her judgments are tainted with a note of contempt for both viewpoints. Not intentionally vivid in imagery, the poem does invoke stark emotions with words like thumb shut, dissolve, naked, and black and stiff. The opening lines alone form ridiculous mental pictures that are effective for shock value. Collectively, there results a humorous sales pitch atmosphere created by diction such as guarantee, waterproof, shatterproof, proof against fire and bombs and I can sew, cook, talk, talk, talk... .
Utilizing humor as her vehicle, Sylvia Plath encapsulates the faulty rationale of the established institution and its consequent corruption of love. To her it has become a practical rather than emotional bond; it has entered the realm of an applicant rather than a partner or spouse. Through the dialog format of the poem and the questioning tone, Plath points accusingly at apathy and conformity as the culprits. The presentation may be facetious, but the reader comes away with the disturbing realization that this situation is not so laughably uncommon. With bittersweet words and ironic humor, Plath reminds us of the dangers of living for someone instead of with someone.

| Posted on 2009-02-02 | by a guest


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Womens traditional nurturing role has limited and oppressed womens identities and opportunities for centuries, as shown in The Applicant. Sylvia Plaths own context and perception is conveyed through the bitter and sarcastic tone and the subject matter of the poem. By showing women as merely objects, not capable of autonomous decision, they are established as victims of men, disposable and of only material value: But in twenty-five years shell be silver/In fifty, gold. Although shown as a precious entity, this objectification of women underpins the entire poem, aiming to show how women are viewed by society. The title The Applicant reflects how the sanctity of marriage and love is tarnished by this victimisation of women. Womens restricted roles are also described: It can sew, it can cook, /It can talk, talk, talk. The adverse circumstances under which women must live renders them victims, and they must submit to men and fulfil these roles in order to appeal to men and redeem their worth. Not only does this show men as the dominant social group but reinforces how women are required to earn their value over time: To bring teacups and roll away headaches/And do whatever you tell it. Their value is defined as a sense of security and stability in life: It is waterproof, shatterproof, proof/Against fire and bombs through the roof. Humour is used throughout in its caustic criticism of the institution of marriage and male-female relationships. The constant repetition of the pronoun it reduces the sense of the womans identity, establishing her anonymity and silencing her perspective. The woman who fulfils these domestic roles is seen to be adequate: It works, there is nothing wrong with it. The feminist movement in the nineteen sixties inspired much of Sylvia Plaths disgust at womens oppression and how they are victims in a male-dominant society.

| Posted on 2008-06-24 | by a guest




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