Plath and Swift: The Feminist Confessional Lyric of Two “Ladies Lazarus”
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This thesis argues that Sylvia Plath and Taylor Swift could both be seen as feminist confessional lyricists. It explores and defines the Second and Fourth Wave of feminism and the style and form in which writers within those waves wrote. For the Second Wave, Sylvia Plath will be read as the previous century’s model of a feminist confessional poet. Her poetry defines the self and breaks with previous conventional restrictions. In regard to the Fourth Wave of feminism, this thesis argues that Taylor Swift could be seen as Plath’s contemporary counterpart, the twenty-first century’s feminist confessional lyricist. The concept of confessionalism in this wave is defined particularly by feminism’s digital reach and new forms of “spreading consciousness” or awareness. This thesis results in a close reading of “Lady Lazarus” by Plath and “mad woman” by Swift, in order to demonstrate the points made about the lyricists’ writing styles in relation to their social contexts in the first two chapters. Both women use their words in order to define the self in their works and to spread the feminist confessional lyric in their own mode of communication. While Sylvia Plath does so mostly in her literary works, as was common for many Second Wave feminist writers, Taylor Swift, as a Fourth Wave feminist writer, also makes deliberate use of social media and her public persona.