chapter  3
57 Pages

Plath’s Environmentalism

Sylvia Plath's environmentalism, like her midatlanticism, is concerned with the penetrability of borders and the relationship of any human being to the larger world. Much of Plath's writing hinges on exchanges within a global ecosystem that includes the climate, the soil, the air, animal life and the individual human body. Such a configuration is made more powerful by Plath's complex view of men's and womens shared places in this system, and contradicts the still prevalent view of Plath as self-obsessed. In a poem, 'Waking in Winter', Plath revisits the environmentalist subject matter and imagery of 'City Wife', but develops cause and effect, moving to the next logical step in the food chain. 'Waking in Winter' suggests that mechanisation, industrialisation and overproduction result in a nightmare of Fordist capitalism. 'The Rabbit Catcher' also disorders any straightforward categorisation of Plath's writing as feminine in its construction of the relation between women and nature.