Honors Program

[Honors-in-Discipline (Choose below)], Honors in English

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Mark Baumgartner

Thesis Professor Department

Literature and Language

Thesis Reader(s)

Darryl Haley, Jesse Graves


Though Sylvia Plath’s poems and novel undergo frequent scholarly research, her short fiction is often overlooked. Plath’s journals influenced her short fiction writing, and her stories reflected Plath’s lived experiences. Plath’s short fiction, like her other works, explore themes of identity and detachment. Each of her protagonists exist in a personal limbo, and they strive to find their identities and to fit the roles in which they occupy. This thesis focuses on “Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom,” stories from Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, and additional research from scholarly journals and biographies, with comparisons to identity struggles shown in The Bell Jar and The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath. I found the catalysts for their identity crises stem from observations surrounding femininity, societal roles, and psychological wellness. Furthermore, this research shows Plath’s subjective writing habits and highlights her protagonists’ commonalities throughout her writing career.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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Copyright by the authors.