Greg Johnson on: "The Truth the Dead Know"

In that strange, bitter elegy, "The Truth the Dead Know," Sexton seems to eschew the common rituals of mourning: "Gone, I say and walk from church, / refusing the stiff procession to the grave"; she prefers, instead to "cultivate myself" and to avoid such a powerful intimation of mortality as the death of both parents within a few months. The poem ends, however, by emphasizing not her own refusals but those of the dead, and into her voice creeps something like envy. . . .

From "The Achievement of Anne Sexton." The Hollins Critics (1984)

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Criticism Overview
Title Greg Johnson on: "The Truth the Dead Know" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Greg Johnson Criticism Target Anne Sexton
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 25 Feb 2016
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication The Achievement of Anne Sexton
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