Plath Daddy Essay

Essay Analysis of Daddy by Sylvia Plath

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Analysis of Daddy by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath uses her poem, Daddy, to express deep emotions toward her father’s life and death. With passionate articulation, she verbally turns over her feelings of rage, abandonment, confusion and grief. Though this work is fraught with ambiguity, a reader can infer Plath’s basic story. Her father was apparently a Nazi soldier killed in World War II while she was young. Her statements about not knowing even remotely where he was while he was in battle, the only photograph she has left of him and how she chose to marry a man that reminded her of him elude to her grief in losing her father and missing his presence. She also expresses a dark anger toward him for his political views and actions…show more content…

She also presents a slight rhythm to the reading that allows for smooth reading. In keeping with her open form, there is no set scheme to the rhyme pattern. However, there is a single ending sound constantly repeated without a set pattern throughout the work. She also connects pairs of lines at random just for the sake of making connections to make that particular stanza flow. At the same time, she chose blatantly not to rhyme in certain parts to catch the reader’s attention.
There are a few instances where imagery is used to carry out Plath’s expression. To cite a particular example that might lead a reader deduce their own ideas can be found in the last stanza: “And the villagers never liked you. / They are dancing and stamping on you.” This undoubtedly expresses her father’s death and burial but more importantly it states a certain humiliation she faced from everyone knowing what her father had died for, along with her own rage toward him. Another can be found in lines 24-25: “I never could talk to you. / The tongue stuck in my jaw.” The picture of someone being tongue-tied along with her statement in line 41: “I have always been scared of you,” demonstrate just that; she was fearful of her father. She also gives an image that provides the reader a view of how Plath physically viewed her father and chose a man that she states reminds her of him: “A man in black with a Meinkampf look.”

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Everybody has, had, or is going to have someone die in their life, but it’s the worst thing in the world. Just like I am close to my grandmother, I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have her in my life. Would I survive? Is the question I always ask myself, the girl and I have similarities only thing different about us is that her father died. You never know who it’s going to be, it could be your sister, mother, grandmother, and so on. That’s how I think Sylvia Plath “Daddy” is about how she lost that one person she was close to and just couldn’t handle it. As you read on I’m going to be telling you what I think about the poem, and how Sylvia Plath use her poem “Daddy”, to show her emotion towards her dad death.
Sylvia Plath was a novelist and a poet in which she expressed her deep feelings about death, nature and her opinions about the universe. Sylvia was born on October 27, 1932 in Boston. Her father, Otto Plath, was a professor at Boston University and was also expert with bees. He published a story in 1934, “Bumblebees and Their Ways.” Sylvia was impressed by way her father handles the bees. When Sylvia was only eight years old, when her father died from diabetes, but before his death he was known as authoritarian. Her father left her full of guilt and despair that she promised to herself that she will never speak to God again. Her mother was Aurelia, who work two jobs to support Plath and her brother, Warren. After Plath’s death, her diary was revealed about her hatred towards her mother. She studied at Gamaliel Bradford Senior High School, which is now called Wellesley High School. She was intelligent and well-adjusted student and many students admired her beauty. Sylvia Plath created this poem to mirrors her own personal life. This biographical poem reveals the dramatic events that Plath faces in regards to her father. The poem also represents the importance of freedom.
The beginning Sylvia begins, “you do not do, you do not do/any more, black shoe” (1-2) Plath is trapped in a shoe that belongs to her father in which she cannot live in anymore. This line is reminiscent to the English nursery rhyme, “The old lady who lived in a shoe.” The following lines give proof to her trappings and the suppression caused by her father. “For which I have lived like a foot/ for thirty years, poor and white/ barely daring to breathe or achoo.” (3-5) “Barely daring to breathe or achoo,” lets the reader know that Plath has not been free, for thirty years she has been trapped, haunted, and imprisoned by her father and scared to even speak about it. Sylvia Plath’s father played a larger than life role in Plath’s life. Although her father died when Plath was just a child, only eight years old; this domineering, powerful Republican German man was inescapable for Sylvia Plath.
In the second stanza, Sylvia Plath describes her father and the feelings she has for him. “Marble-heavy, a bag full of God.” (8) Marble heavy can refer to the fact that a lot of caskets for dead bodies are made of marble, which also lets the reader know that Plath’s father has passed away. A bag full of God, the reference to God being the control and power that Plath’s father has had over her life. The poem continues on with describing Otto Plath, her father.
This poem also can be viewed as a poem about the individual trapped between herself and society. Plath weaves together devoted figures — a father, Nazis, a vampire, a husband — and then holds them all accountable for history’s horrors. In this the speaker comes to understand that she must kill the father figure in order to break free of the drawback that it places upon her. In particular, these drawback can be understood as having a nature of a parent forces that enforce a strict gender structure. She realizes what she has to do, but it requires a sort of hysteria. In order to succeed, she must have complete control, since she fears she will be destroyed unless she totally annihilates her antagonist. “Daddy” is also perhaps Sylvia Plath’s best-known poem. It has elicited a variety of distinct reactions, from the feminist praise of its unadulterated rage towards male dominance. It has been reviewed and criticized by hundreds and hundreds of scholars, and is upheld as one of the best examples of confessional poetry.
Metaphor plays a major role in this poem because strong metaphors are conveyed throughout the poem, though shoes and feet are a recurrent image in this poem; they take on a different nuance, of meaning as the poem proceeds. Commonly, a shoe protects the foot and keeps it warm, in this poem. However, the shoe is a trap, smothering the foot. The adjective “black” suggest the idea of death, and since the shoe is fitting tightly around the foot, one might think of a corpse in a coffin. Path thus feels at the same time protected and smothered by her father. Later, the black shoe emerges as military “boot” (line 49) when the father is called a Nazi.
The Poem seems to have an irregularity in rhyme. “Daddy” is not a free flowing poem because it is able to split it up into three separate parts. The tone of this poem is an adult engulfed in outrage. The outrage, at times, slip into the sobs of the child. This is evident by Plath’s continued use the word daddy and childlike repetition “You do not, you do not do” (1) and “Daddy, daddy, you bastard” (80). Fear from her childhood moves her in directions that will take her far from herself.
Daddy” is a negative, and dark poem. However, as the conclusion of the poem clears the Plath was able to resolve her conflicts. She had also been able to bring a great amount of power within the poem to the readers. One can see this from her use of vivid metaphor, imagery, rhyme, tone, and smile as major poetic devices. She finishes the poem with a powerful, “Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.” (80). Showing that she has finally reached freedom.

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