Otherness in Anne Sexton’s ‘Her Kind’ Poem


Social demarcation in the population is portrayed in geographic, tribal, or ideological lines. Identifying these differentiations within us enables individuals to establish themselves based on how they perceive others. A faction may find itself superior, based on its subjective appreciation of other cultures being inferior. Othering has been used to subjugate some cultures, for example, in the slave business where Africans were considered commodities to be transacted rather than being seen as humans.

We will write a
custom essay
specifically for you

for only $16.05 $11/page
308 certified writers online
Learn More

It is the impression people have on others, which may have negative results. The one being viewed positively will often internalize these stereotypes which will be used in judging the ‘other’. This comparing and differentiating ourselves from others is what defines othering. Referring to someone as ‘other’ stresses the stereotypical images observed in society.

Anne Sexton’s ‘Her Kind’

Otherness is best depicted in her cry when she explains the typecasts women face in the social order. The author was a poet and a woman but was generally perceived as an outcast due to the stereotypes society had on women. Simply being a woman puts one at a disadvantage, as there are some expectations that they are supposed to stand to, failure to which one is labeled as an outcast (Vendler, 2003). Modern, liberated women who strive to achieve in life are thus represented as the other. The poem discusses the unnecessary typecast that society has on contemporary, enlightened women, as she tries to transform the ‘possessed witch’ into a constructive representation.

The woman in the poem is the ‘other’ as she depicts a powerful image, instead of the typical submissive woman. She is misunderstood, as she goes out to seek her own shelter and work, a responsibility attached to men. The author, however, argues against this otherness, as she attempts to make the achieving woman obtain the necessary, positive image. Anne was not only a poet and a woman but was also an outcast in society.

She experienced several nervous breakdowns, which she became accustomed to, following the negative eye of the society for her unwomanly actions. In this poem, the speaker has been negatively viewed due to her powerfulness (Vendler, 2003). Society has a fixed view of women as being quiet and submissive. However, the current woman has come out strong and willing to reveal her mind courageously. She is no longer connected to household chores but rather furthers her tutoring in order to complete her career ambitions. Since the current woman does not satisfy her usual roles, the associations cease seeing her femininity.

Men become threatened by such women, as their masculinity is in danger. Humanity, men specifically, shrink back from the idea of an accredited great female. They will therefore try to suppress her success and reject her with the goal of regaining their authority. This was done through somatic and mental restrictions from cooperative activities in order to make them feel secluded. In the 16th century, women who did not fulfill their societal expectations were labeled as witches, usually being tortured as witches. The author thus uses this concept of famous women being labeled ‘witches’ to advance the concept of otherness.

Anne Sexton’s failure to meet the expectations of society results in her being seen as a witch. The witch, who does not meet the societal expectations, is thus seen as the ‘other’. She is considered evil and not a proper woman (Vendler, 2003). The poem also makes liberated women feel like outcasts, living in caves and the desert. Society secludes them, as they are seen as different because of their disintegration from ordinary humanity. While abuse is not present acceptable, it has not stopped; only a change in its kind is experienced. For example, psychological trauma may be used to depress the author into submission. The population does not see her influence in society.

Get your
100% original paper
on any topic

done in as little as
3 hours
Learn More

In her poem, the two voices hold, finally concluding that the stereotype in fact may be used by the modern girl to their advantage (Vendler, 2003). It brings out the positive and ardent personality of the ‘other’, rather than the degrading nature that the society wants to be achieved.

Identifying and assisting students experiencing otherness

A failure in experiences with other cultures is an easy way of identifying otherness. Accommodating the beliefs of others may be involved, especially when kids have been cultured that way by parents. Otherness is thus seen in the way that they secure their own positive image and stigmatize the ‘other’. Racial and ethnic traits thus shape the otherness experienced by such children. It is easy to identify the ‘other’ as they usually in their own groups and their inferiority complex causes depression and poor grades.

Public schools are breeding grounds for otherness, especially those with different cultural and pecuniary backgrounds. Students from affluent families see poorer students as ‘others’. This behavior may be exemplified in ways of dressing, and the nature of food taken by students. It would be easy to identify them, as affluent scholars generally cluster together and have a superiority complex over other students.

Ethnocentrism is thus depicted as they see their culture and background as superior to that of other children, based on postulation. These prejudices are often got from their parents who cultivate their socialization with individuals from wealthy backgrounds.

Children must be informed that it is society influencing their behavior. It is necessary for them to include feelings of togetherness, in order to realize the uniqueness of each character. They end up growing with the feeling of inferiority, and thus it would also be relevant to encourage them. Those initiating the “othering” must be taught how to accommodate other students, for example, mixing both students during teamwork, or always portraying the positive traits of the ‘other’ while giving examples in class.

Otherness makes individuals feel distraught, confused, and lonesome. For young scholars, it may lead to poor performance, absence, or inappropriate emotional responses in class. This may be transferred to the global location where they would always have low self-esteem. It is necessary to remove otherness in children early in order to improve how they interact and maintain meaningful relationships within society. Everybody needs friends from different ethnic, educational, or financial backgrounds for proper growth.


Vendler, H. (2003). The anthology of contemporary American policy. London: I.B.Tauris.

We will write a custom
for you!
Get your first paper with
15% OFF
Learn More
Print Сite this

Cite this paper

Select style


StudyCorgi. (2021, May 7). Otherness in Anne Sexton’s ‘Her Kind’ Poem. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/otherness-in-anne-sextons-her-kind-poem/

Work Cited

"Otherness in Anne Sexton’s ‘Her Kind’ Poem." StudyCorgi, 7 May 2021, studycorgi.com/otherness-in-anne-sextons-her-kind-poem/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Otherness in Anne Sexton’s ‘Her Kind’ Poem." May 7, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/otherness-in-anne-sextons-her-kind-poem/.


StudyCorgi. "Otherness in Anne Sexton’s ‘Her Kind’ Poem." May 7, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/otherness-in-anne-sextons-her-kind-poem/.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Otherness in Anne Sexton’s ‘Her Kind’ Poem." May 7, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/otherness-in-anne-sextons-her-kind-poem/.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Otherness in Anne Sexton’s ‘Her Kind’ Poem'. 7 May.

Copy to clipboard

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal.

Psst... Stuck with your
assignment? 😱
Psst... Stuck with your assignment? 😱
Do you need an essay to be done?
What type of assignment 📝 do you need?
How many pages (words) do you need? Let's see if we can help you!