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ENGL 3550 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Sylvia Plath, Atlanta Exposition Speech, Page 44

Course Code
ENGL 3550
Scott Schau
Study Guide

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1. The Bell Jar: the main character Esther is about to enter into an interview(meeting)
where it will be determined whether or not she can be released from the asylum to
continue on her life.
-represents Esther's rebirth into the world
- significant also because she says how she has been analyzed however her life is still a
2. Tracks: In the ending scene of tracks, Nanapush is the narrator speaking to Lulu.
Nanapush and Margaret are doing everything they can to get Lulu back from the
government school in which her mother Fleur sent her. They get Lulu back
-significant because Nanapush realizes the power of the government in his culture
-significant because of Nanapush’s fight for the records to be deemed Lulu’s true father:
Genealogy (self created adoption)
3. Invisible Man: the narrator awakes form a dream and realizes that he does not belong
anywhere, he is invisible to everyone
-significant because represents the cyclical structure of the novel, end is also the
-he finds self identity and individualism without self sacrifice
4. Lady Lazarus: in the end of the poem the speaker is being reborn for the final time
-sexualized through rebirth
-adoption of multiple identities
Compare how TWO of these endings affect your understanding of the
works’ larger themes.
The Bell Jar and Lady Lazarus
In the two works by Sylvia Plath, both characters experience the theme of rebirth. Both
characters have been born again into a new life. Esther and the Lady have both
experienced death and/or near death experiences allowing them to escape their pasts.
These women are sexualized through men which allows them to carry on with their lives.
Esther loosed her virginity and lady Lazarus experiences brute men. In the ending of this
poem and novel the characters experience a connection between power and pain and how
it is closely related. Esther has the power to escape the asylum however she still has the
pain in her mind that she has no identity. She questions herself still although doctors have
analyzed her. Lady Lazarus has been deceived by men and says “there is a charge For the
hearing of my heart’ (18) and “I eat men like air” (19). She no longer has an open heart,
and is in pain however she shows power through her last line. Lady Lazarus rises from
her pain to achieve power and strength over man in so easy a way as breathing.
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Identify FOUR significant moments when one character names
another character (each from a different work on our list). Cite the
name, who bestows it, and the scene in which the naming takes
Answer should be ABOUT 160 WORDS (i.e. about 40 words per described
scene). Point-form is fine. (8%)
Cite FOUR scenes (each from a different work) in which a first-
person narrator or speaker undergoes a form of rebirth. Identify the
location of the rebirth and the form it takes.
Answer should be ABOUT 160 WORDS (i.e. about 40 words per described
scene). Point-form is fine. (8%)
1. The Bell Jar: the rebirth takes place in the ending scene of the novel. This rebirth
is a type of spiritual rebirth. Esther is leaving the asylum and going back out into
the real world as a healed person.
2. Lady Lazarus: this rebirth also takes place in the last stanza of the poem. This
rebirth is also personal and spiritual. The Lady is being born again in another
form to have revenge on men
3. The America Play: this rebirth takes place on pages 12-13. This can be seen as a
type of historical rebirth. The foundling father is acting as Lincoln being shot
several times but them coming back to life as Lincoln once again.
4. Tracks: this rebirth takes place in chapter eight. Pauling has undergone a rebirth
of the soul. She becomes a martyr and tries to suffer as Christ has.
Focus on TWO of these scenes. How does the first-person point of
view illuminate these scenes’ social significance?
The America Play: the first person point of view illuminates these scenes socially
because of the cultural relevance. The Foundling father a black man is playing a white
man who is being shot by several black men. This is significant because it shows how
racial inequality has effect people in history. Lincoln the very man who abolished slavery
was killed. By reenacting history the black men in this novel are writing themselves into
history. The foundling father in particular is highly investing in this act and not only sees
himself as Lincoln but someone who has become Lincoln entirely.
Tracks: Pauline’s point of view illuminates the social significance of her rebirth because
she is becoming culturally invested. Socially she did not fit into anywhere in her society
or culture. She seeks safety and social redemption in her pursuit of Christianity. Pauline
seeks to become friends with Fleur and Eli who she has committed evil acts against
therefore being accepted into society for the first time.
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