Undergraduate Awards 2017

Comparing Sylvia Plath and Dorothy Hewett



In 2017, I wrote an essay titled ‘Performativity, Confession, and the Female Writer, as illuminated by the lives and works of Sylvia Plath and Dorothy Hewett’. The essay was awarded a Highly Commended by the Undergraduate Awards judging panel in 2017.

Since allegations emerged earlier this year about the sexual abuse suffered by Dorothy Hewett’s daughters – and the blind eye their mother turned towards this horror – it will always feel untimely to share an essay which examines Hewett without knowledge of these allegations. Nevertheless, the comparison of Sylvia Plath and Dorothy Hewett remains valid and worth exploring, at least in the context of their performativity and construction of personas. For all her (many, irretrievably problematic) flaws, Hewett is also an important literary figure in Australia’s writing tradition. 

Therefore, if you are curious to learn more about Plath, Hewett, and their noteworthy points in common, you are welcome to read my essay on the topic. It has the small honour of being the first published piece of research which compares these two authors.

You can read it on the Undergraduate Awards website here.