Sylvia Plath and the Witch Mother

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Susan Schwartz


This analysis of Sylvia Plath is based on the concept of the witch, rather than on Plath’s personal interest in the occult and witchcraft. Even more specifically, my analysis is based on her experience of the mother as a witch figure. She wrote: “When I am cured of my witch-belief, I will be able to tell her of writing without a flinch and still feel it is mine” (The Unabridged Journals, 447). Images of witches appear in various forms throughout history. They range from evil, ugly women huddling over a cauldron, like the Weird Sisters in Macbeth, to cackling beings riding through the sky, like the wicked witches of the East and West in The Wizard of Oz. However the witch is portrayed, she is invested with unusual powers; lives on the edge of society; and is equipped with potions and mystical knowledge.


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Article Details

Family Dynamics: Mother
Author Biography

Susan Schwartz, International Association of Analytical Psychology, New Mexico Society of Jungian Analysts, American Psychological Association

Susan E. Schwartz, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst and clinical psychologist. She has cotnributed several articles to the Plath Profiles and a chapter in Perpetual Andolescence: Jungian Analyses of American Pop Culture. She also co-authored Couples at the Crossroads. She has a private analytical practice in Paradise valley, Arizona and her website is:


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