Author Information

Kathryn Johnston


Daphne du Maurier and Sylvia Plath both use voice as a tool in their respective pieces, “La Sainte-Vierge” and “Lesbos.” Through the implementation of varied voices, these women convey female interiors. Du Maurier’s use of a third-person narrative voice in her short story “La Sainte-Vierge” allows her to comment on the lives of the main characters through the eyes of an outsider. Du Maurier’s outsider reveals a naïve and delusional housewife, unhealthy in her denial within a failing relationship. Contrasting with du Maurier’s Marie is Plath’s first-person voice of a scorned, dissatisfied housewife in her poem, “Lesbos.” Plath’s use of the first-person voice is central to this poem’s effectiveness, allowing for an emotional reading of the thoughts of a bitter woman. Although the reaction of the wronged woman differs, both pieces powerfully employ voice to illustrate the effects of a failing relationship.

Note on the Author

Kathryn Johnston is a senior English major with a minor in Secondary Education. This essay was originally developed for the course Women Writers Since 1900 in the spring semester of 2011, under the mentorship of Meredith Dutton.

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