• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Write a critical analysis of Plath's "The Applicant", bearing in mind the voice of the speaker

Extracts from this document...


Write a critical analysis of Plath's "The Applicant", bearing in mind the voice of the speaker. The Applicant hinges upon the central idea of how human relations are a cynical filling of a physical need, and how marriage is the last resort of crippled personalities, where women are no more than a set of appendages and functions. The Speaker addresses the readers directly, with the constant referral to 'you', making the poem even more disturbing with the realization that we too are the potential applicants, where the fragmentation of alienation of the applicant are also part of our world. The interrogative, formal tone begins the poem as an interview, "First, are you our sort of person?" where the applicant is harshly torn down as parts which characterize his self, as if he is a cog in a bureaucratized market place forced to engage in the exchange because of his own inadequacies. The language of market executives runs through the poem, with the repetition of the word 'proof', like the persuasive tone of one trying to promote a product incessantly, an echo ringing in the head, it is a necessity. At the end of the poem it even becomes a sharp command, with the removal of a question mark it becomes no more than a necessity, an order, we are forced into marriage as a necessary social institution to plaster our fractured souls. ...read more.


This is also reflected in the disjointed structure of the poem and its quick, formal lines that gives the sense of a cycle, or a robotic process of interrogative questioning followed by the typical situation. The nakedness of both the applicant and the woman, 'stark naked' and 'naked' refer to the fact that both of them are blank slates for society to mold us into the roles we are filled into. Yet there is an uncanny tone in the way the Speaker orders the applicant to 'stop crying', when the Speaker 'fits him for his suit', almost represented the short moment of the man's resistance to conforming to society, which is quickly overcome by the fact that it is his 'last resort', it is the typical sequence in the robotic cycle of society, In this mechanized society, then, the roles for both men and women are then laid out and clearly defined, and beyond that they have no other purpose. Although the both of them start off as naked and empty, a jumbled heap of parts, the man at least can hide behind his 'suit' that gives shape and an identity to him, the suit could represent perhaps the stereotypical power accorded to a male in our patriarchal society, or his working class job, the role he plays in a bureaucratic society. ...read more.


In this the woman is reduced to merely put up qualities, her creation was made for the man and marriage is a necessity. The use of affectionate terms such as 'sweetie' and 'my boy' further transforms this into a sadistic irony, the Speaker bears no real affection for the woman or the man, and the treatment of them is cold and clinical, in the resolving of a business deal and forcing them into well-made roles in society. The use of the word 'it' instead of 'her' further reduces the woman into a mere automaton and commodity on sale for the man's satisfaction. Thus in the poem the self is seen as trapped within the closed cycle of society. One moves- but only in a circle and continuously back to the same starting point. Rather than the self and the world, the world constrains and limits the individual to protocols and systems of behaviour, where the self is intimately and inextricably bound up with those of the world. People are merely trapped in their crippled bodies that are jumbled up heaps of fragmented parts, marriage is a forced and artificial institution, where women are commodities for the pleasure of men. There is no real meaning, or purpose to life in the cycle, and the roles of both parties will last with each succumbing generation. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. The Glass Ceiling

    In the year 2000, the glass ceiling still exists. This ceiling cannot be broken until women are treated as equals. The only way that equality will come about is if both men and women modify their beliefs and actions. I think that today some women are still silent about not

  2. Do a detailed critical analysis of the opening of Coetzee's Foe, paying particular attention ...

    So with these underlying issues in mind the structure of the novel is also worth briefly looking at so the opening can be put into context. It must be taken into consideration the stylistically the opening chapter is very different from the rest of the novel.

  1. Voice of the Country-House Poem

    a political base for governmental offices and thus was essential to civil power; and as the bulk of an inheritance passed from father to eldest son, the country house served as a dynastic symbol." (94) From this dynastic haven, the nucleus of his power, the landowner dispensed the largess and authority expected of the ruling class.

  2. Sociology Marriage Questionnaire Analysis

    The names will be picked at random in registration time. The adults will be 30-40 Years old and will be given the questionnaires by my mum from her work place in Atlantic College. B. Procedure (10 marks) (a) Describe how you carried out the research (300 words): I wrote questions

  1. Discuss (critically and with a range of examples) the notion that identity is bound ...

    We assess what we deem appropriate and then 'perform' this act using a given 'script', determined by societal context. This concept of performance also implies that we require an audience; other members of society. Sometimes we may 'give off' some signs unintentionally though.

  2. Analysis of Paul Cobb's 'Where is the mind?'

    The final duality identified by Bredo is that of individual and society. The symbol-processing and situated views of the mind would seem to have opposing views in the primacy of individual and socio-cultural processes in intellectual development. Although Cobb illustrates how the constructivist view in either variant acknowledges the importance

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work