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Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

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06/06/2013

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Sylvia Plath's "Daddy

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An Examination of a Father's Influence over Brilliant Poet
Aug 6, 2008 Jennifer M. Willhite

Sylvia Plath -http://www.revolve.com.au/images/sylvia-portrait.j

Written October 12, 1962, Daddy serves as a type of confession. The poem is a deep, dark examination of a paternal relationship that died when Plath was young.

Sylvia Plath was a woman who endured many hardships, and though she managed to survive ± for a while ± in most cases her depressive state inhibited her full recovery. Losing her father at a young age is something that severely affected her emotionally, and jaded her outlook on life. Many facets of her poetry illustrate with words and symbolism the harrowing, and haunting, feelings that she dealt with on a daily basis. It has often been theorized that her father played a pivotal role in her writing. There are obvious examples of his presence in her poetry, and then there are other times where his presence is more implied than explicit. Daddy: Shoe Imagery
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Within the first lines, Plath refers to herself as a foot, and her father as the black shoe in which she has lived for so long. When one thinks of a shoe, usually the association is made that the shoe is worn as a kind of protection. The imagery of her father in this way would imply that she has felt protected living in his memory. The color black is thought of as the absence of light, darkness, and desolation ± obviously the nemesis of purity, light and protection. Assuming that the association between the two is accurate, it would be safe to attribute the speaker¶s depressive thoughts, and haunting images, to feelings that she is bound to her father¶s memory despite the anger and resentment that she feels. Using this type of association one can feel the animosity with which Plath writes of her father, as distinct from her father in the flesh. On an unconscious level, Plath could blame her father for leaving she and her mother alone. Daddy as God The speaker refers to her father as a God-like figure. She doesn¶t give him enough credit to be God, but he is composed of facets which one associates with God. Her words are a type of bitter mockery.

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The speaker solidifies her father¶s overwhelming omni-presence through an association to a geographic locale. Whatever the case. Path plays on this association by naming a body of some of the water Nauset. is compared to the cleft in the father¶s chin. Plath may have felt that being dead. The phone is ³off at the root´ and any connection she has to this father figure has been dissipated. though the speaker keeps him tied to the Atlantic. she immediately allows the father character to adopt immense and controlling characteristics. Extermination There are instances in Daddy in which Plath reverts to a German/Jewish theme. it would be safe to assume that her father was a God-like figure. someone who was always present ± similar to God¶s omnipotence. like her father. temperament. this alienation attracts attention to differences in emotion. and sensory levels. though in a different way this time. and communication²a black telephone. and language. Once again the imagery of the foot is used. . Though he is dead. Representing herself as a Jew. His presence is large enough to encompass all the continents. Plath made this connection during her own bleak moments. his memory is something that the speaker cannot escape. or possibly his physical death alone. Plath felt that she was not good enough. This suggests that the father had some demonic characteristics associated with his physical form. and experienced on many psychological. which is often associated with the devil¶s hoofs. and her father as the German soldier in command of the operation. Daddy as the Devil Plath introduces her father as the devil. In the last stanza. and if the empathy is not there. he left. The strength with which these lines were written is felt by the audience. Her position may suggest to the reader her substandard views of herself. A cleft. some level of understanding or reasoning must be instituted. mocking tone. siblings or different facets of her own personality. At that particular point in her life. With the barrier in place between the father and daughter. the association of the villagers could be attributed to the speaker¶s family. these final lines make the case for the strong sense with which this man¶s behaviors. She admits to her father¶s memory that she first attempted suicide when she was twenty. There is no chance that the connection could be reestablished. and tunnel to the speaker. The final lines are ones in which Plath allows the reader to better understand what the speaker feels. the language barrier can be more easily characterized. Plath introduces her father in his terrifying role of the German in subsequent lines. She refers to a Holocaust scenario by portraying herself as the Jew. emotional. Within those lines. and soon after his passing such an association adopted the bitter. but instead of her father having her transported. Somehow this powerful man has found a way to continue to control her. Theme of Blackness Returns Plath guides her audience back to the theme of blackness. were abhorred. would be the only reasonable and least painful resolution to her desperation. The idea of the µbean green¶ water intertwined with the blue is a nauseating association. or she has found a way to relinquish her own right to control his memory. Voices cannot worm their way through. who is being transported to the death camp. and allows him to rest there. The association of the colors of the waters that surround the father¶s hulking form indicates sickness.During her childhood. and thought it a reasonable compromise.

She finds comfort and resolution in her words pouring out before her.cfm/sylvia_plaths_daddy#ixzz0wKyzdySK .com/article. is something that permeated her life and writing. and the speaker is not ashamed. Read more at Suite101: Sylvia Plath's "Daddy": An Examination of a Father's Influence over Brilliant Poet http://american-poetry.Daddy¶s Subsequent Influence Throughout Plath¶s literary career the role of her father. Plath holds nothing back. Daddy is a poem that is known for its brutal imagery and language.suite101. or merely his influence.

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