Writing on Women Writers

A site for college students to write about women writers.

The Abortion by Anne Sexton

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                   Anne Sexton 


Anne Sexton’s poem The Abortion deals with a very controversial issue. Abortion is a very sensitive subject even in today’s world.That is why, when this poem was written in 1960s  it was a big deal for a woman to be writing about such things.  It was not even until the 1970s that there was The Women’s Liberation Movement. Where women fought and protested for their beliefs. So for her to write this poem in the sixties is a big thing.

Some of the lines from the poem that really stood out were :

“Somebody who should have been born is gone.” (532).

Just with this line and the title we already know that the speaker is talking about the baby that was aborted. This line also gives off a feeling of sadness. The speaker makes it known that they realized that due to this abortion someone is no longer in existence. They go on to describe the landscape in with this next quote.

“The grass is bristly and stout as chives, and, me wondering when the ground would break, and me wondering how anything fragile survives” (532).

Here the speaker is describing the landscape, when all of a sudden they show signs of breaking down. Abortion is no easy choice for anyone. This quote shows that with her wondering when it would all be over.  How possibly could the baby survive. As well as maybe her having second thoughts on having the abortion. Then, believing there would be no way because a baby is a fragile thing and her life may be not a good one for a baby to come into. With her waiting for the ground to break or the next thing to go wrong in her life. This last quote I really liked.

“Up in Pennsylvania, I met a little man, not Rumpelstiltskin, at all, at all… he took the fullness that love began” (532).

As children we learn the tale of Rumplestiltskin and him wanting the first born child. Then,this woman is going to man who does not want her child, but who will terminate it. Sexton is saying this is no fairy tale this is real and he is taking a baby that is  fullness in this woman and  taking piece of her love for someone away.  Pennsylvania is not in a story book it is a real place in the world. It is not made up anyone can go there its real and Rumplestiltskin is not. That is why when she goes to Pennsylvania that is not the man she meets.

In today’s world, they even have a clock online to see the number of abortions since 1970 with planned parenthood. Abortion is still controversial with Pro Choice and Pro Life.  Even in Pennsylvania at Planned Parenthood they have an Abortion Control Act. This act allows women more time to think about whether or not they truly want to abort. People have their own opinions on abortion no matter what others believe. Before they were legal women had back alley abortions that caused them great harm and mutilated them.  Women are going to do what they think is best for themselves. It is an issue that seems as though it will never go away.

One interesting video I came across was of  Ballard High School where the school counted an abortion as a part of their medical care.



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