Anne Sexton was born on the 9th of November 1928 to heavy drinkers, Ralph Harvey and Mary Grey Staples in Weston, Massachusetts. Possible sexual abuse and absent-minded parents led her into a dark spiral and her only relief was her Great Aunt ‘Nana’. After Nana’s death in 1954, Anne was in and out of therapy. Sexton’s therapist told her to unleash her feelings onto paper and to take up writing. Between her several attempts of suicide Sexton started to create a connection with writing. It became the centre of her life. In 1960 To Bedlam and Part Way Back was published, it connected to many mid-century patrons as it was relevant to the fear and angst that rippled throughout the age. She quickly became a celebrity but while her status was rising, her relationships plummeted. She unexpectantly lost both her parents and her then abusive husband filed for divorce. Sexton felt a consuming loneliness and turned from confessional poet and became a more involved voice in cultural practices. She eventually asphyxiated herself with carbon monoxide in her garage in Boston, killing herself at 48. The 1960’s was an era where the objectification of women was a prevalent issue. Women were made to feel as though they had to look a particular way. They were forced to meet husband’s expectations and look presentable at all times. The women in this generation were predominately used for their appearance; they were objectified to a point of more alike to a trophy than a human being. Women were confined to a particular role within society. The main goal for a woman in that era was to be married. Females of the time felt as though they had to reach a certain standard in the terms of appearance before they could wed, which led a lot of women to the extent of eating disorders. Anne Sexton’s poem is condoning eating disorders and is making out that it is a natural tendency at that time.
Baby Picture is free verse poem, as it does not have a rhyming scheme. The only sound device that is employed in the poem is the power of 3; where Anne repeats a single line for deeper understanding. The power of 3 is present in the first stanza “It's in the heart of the grape where that smile lies. It's in the good-bye-bow in the hair where that smile lies. It's in the clerical collar of the dress where that smile lies.” The power of 3 is used in this quote to signify that during this time, in her early life she was happy. She accentuates on the line “where that smile lies” because that was a positive time in her life. Anne only mentions this line at the beginning of the poem, which can insinuate that as time has gone on the world has wiped away all joy. This is an effective sound device as it really makes you grasp the line being repeated. Baby Picture has a pessimistic mood; the mood remains consistent throughout the whole poem. The poet seeks to evoke a pensive feeling to the audience; it makes you reconsider the importance of body image and eating disorders in general as they are a mental struggle and don't just regard physical appearance. Through the use of creative language, metaphors and similes Anne