This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Preparing For Death In Sylvia Plath's Daddy

1459 words - 6 pages

Preparing for Death in Plath’s Daddy  

Throughout the poem "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath, the author struggles to escape the memory of her father who died when she was only ten years old. She also expresses anger at her husband, Ted Hughes, who abandoned her for another woman. The confessional poem begins with a series of metaphors about Plath's father which progress from godlike to demonic. Near the end, a new metaphor emerges, when the author realizes that her estranged husband is actually the vampire of her dead father, sent to torture her. This hyperbole is central to the meaning of the poem. Lines 75-76 express a hope that they will stop oppressing her: "Daddy, you can lie back now / ...view middle of the document...

in "Scenes").

It is not clear if the author's opinion of her dad directly influenced her feelings about her husband; but, most likely, they did. The poem almost suggests that Plath intentionally drove her husband away, so that she could erase her father from her memory. When she found her father in the "model" she made of him, she began associating Ted with the evils that she had always attributed to her father. By linking the two so closely together, it would be hard for her not to blame him for her father's faults (at least on a subconscious level). However, it is unlikely that she went into the marriage with the conscious intention of using him in this way. More likely, she thought Hughes would fill the void in her heart. It was only after he too deserted her that she realized how foolish she had been. In that embarrassment and anger, Plath wrote "Daddy," cursing the two men and promising to be through with them.

Some technical devices make it even clearer that the author did not settle the matter at hand. According to Roger Platizky, the frequent use of "the echoing "oo" sound" not only shows the author's state of immaturity, but it demonstrates her "incomplete, though desired, end to mourning" (106). Furthermore, a few of the poem's metaphors serve to link the author's life to her father, keeping alive his memory. According to K.G. Srivastava, the "freakish Atlantic Ocean is one such reference, because, like the ocean, Plath's life "is very unpredictable. Sometimes it is very turbulent, but at other times, quite strangely, it is very, very gentle" (128). Moreover, while the author is clearly in turmoil, she still exhibits considerable "control over her material," and she seems unafraid to let the form of the poem indicate her unlikely composer (Platizky 105).

It is not clear whether Plath blames her father, her husband, or herself for her depression. Most likely, she blames all three. There are hints of both guilt and anger in this poem. When the author comments in line 79 that the villagers "always knew it was you," she shows some frustration at herself for taking so long to realize that her husband was a bastard, bound to desert her just like her father had. In line 71, she writes, "If I've killed one man, I've killed two." Inherent in that statement is the suggestion that she may blame herself for her father's death. Psychologists say that this kind of guilt is common in young children whose parents die, because the kids do not understand why their parents would abandon them. Plath refers to her father as a devil, but that scathing metaphor may simply be the most natural (while immature) expression of the distress his absence caused her. It is difficult to imagine that, as an adult, she could have really blamed him for dying. Of course, her suffering was exasperated by the reappearance of a father figure who turned out to be a monster. Plath's marriage may have failed simply because she could not use Hughes to deal effectively...

Other Essays Like Preparing For Death In Sylvia Plath's Daddy

A Paradoxical Relationship Essay

1275 words - 6 pages Augustina Asiafor Hayley Esther Hedgpeth English 1102 4 February 2014 A Paradoxical Relationship Sylvia Plath’s poem “Daddy” emphasizes the ill-fated relationship between a woman and her deceased father. The speaker conveys her paradoxical feelings for the one man who she worshipped during her young years, but feared his malicious influence and domination after his death. Throughout the poem, Plath use of tone changes with the

Plath vs Hughes Essay

829 words - 4 pages background of Lameyers subject matter you would begin to question his perspective entirely. In Hughes poem, he uses a derogative and cynical tone in his portrayal of Sylvia Plath. This is conveyed through imagery such as “your exaggerated American Grin for the cameras”. He has also used a double perspective in his poem to further highlight this façade. Throughout the poem, Hughes’ speaks of his initial impressions of Plath as well as his

Sylvia Plath

698 words - 3 pages SYLVIA PLATH ABOUT THE POET: * Married to a man named Ted Huges. * Two children ~ Frieda + Nicholas. * Problems in their marriage(he had an affair) * They divorced. * She suffered from depression. * Most of her poems were published after her death (suicide). THEMES OF HER POEMS: 1) Her depression. 2) Her love for her children. 3) Motherhood. 4) Nature. 5) Death. 6) Aging MORNING SONG

Poetry Analysis

917 words - 4 pages speaker is comparing herself to a great historical martyr. The definition of a martyr, as stated in Wikipedia, is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious. A person who suffered from mental illness was looked down upon and misunderstood in the 1950's, as were women. The speaker feels that she is not only persecuted for her mental state but because she is a woman

‘the Role of Women in Literature Often Reflects Contemporary Social and Cultural Concerns About Gender.’ Compare and Contrast How and for What Purposes the Role of Women Is Presented in Your Chosen...

3076 words - 13 pages . Women are to some extent liberated but by the 1960’s the force for female self expression and extreme self realisation; this is shown through the collection of ‘Death & Co’ poems by Sylvia Plath which are strident cries for freedom and revenge on male dominance. In the poem Sylvia Plath opens the poem with the line ‘Two, of course there are two’ it begins with a very blunt lime which is direct to the reader and catches the attention of them to

Wuthering Heights

740 words - 3 pages leans on her indicates she has a surer footing.By this she indicates that she dislikes her role in society seemingly being oppressed by it .The grass is too delicate, indicates she is too sensitive for some things in her life , but she is afraid of the alternative 'darkness terrifies'.She is afraid of death and a has dislike of her implied sexual obligations, narrow valleys, purses etc.. Finally she has opted to go back to her house, not described

Sylvia Plath Essay

671 words - 3 pages poetry as everybody has off days so her poems are relatable in the sense that everyone feels empty and unknown sadness’s now and again. Knowing about her sad death really cements these feelings in the poems as we can see that unfortunately she gave up, she never found the hope or person she as looking for to save her from her tormented mind. Therefore, it is obvious that Plath’s personal poems project her life in an intense and disturbing way because in the end plath could see nothing to live for.

Sylvia Plaths Poetry - a Disturbing Experience?

900 words - 4 pages From my reading of Sylvia Plaths’ poetry, I found her work a disturbing experience. Three of her poems, which I have studied; ‘Poppies in July’, ‘The arrival of the bee box’ and ‘Child’, all have similarities. I found them disturbing. I felt I was being given a glimpse into the turmoil she felt as a result of such intensely, personal work. Her vivid imagery and striking metaphors will startle any reader. Also, her work challenges

Breast Cancer Research Paper

1035 words - 5 pages shown that “the death rate from cancer in the United States is continuing the decline that began in the early 1990s.” ("Annual Report to the Nation: Cancer Death Rates Still Dropping") Breast cancer has been around for many centuries and due to the great technology and medical care we, as Americans have today, the death rate of breast cancer in the United States will continue to decline and will hopefully become extinct. In conclusion, many women

Visit to a Circus

662 words - 3 pages Visit to a circus The Rambo Circus is in town!” I exclaimed, eagerly scanning the day’s newspaper. “Let’s go today, please, Mummy!” Mummy looked at Daddy, who smiled. “All right, I suppose we could get tickets for the six ‘o’ clock show this evening”, she said, sipping her coffee. It was a Friday and my parents, twin sister Tina and I were eating breakfast. “Now eat quickly, or you’ll be late for school”, said Daddy. At school, we could

Women Empowerment by Demystification of Motherhood

1272 words - 6 pages . She attacks the mystique of motherhood in her own way by preferring death to surrendering her own self to patriarchy. Another writer of the twentieth century, who showed her vehement latred towards motherhood and the patriarchal constraints on it, is Sylvia Plath. Sylvia Plath never inclined to stoop to serve patriarchy in any way. She disregards the patriarchal definitions of motherhood. Plath felt that motherhood will stifle her and

Related Papers

The Shock Of Sylvia Plath's Daddy

570 words - 3 pages The Shock of Plath’s Daddy   “Daddy” is one of the most highly anthologized poems of Plath's (along with "Lady Lazarus"). It is a notorious poem, the one once compared to "Guernica" by George Steiner. The imagery and audaciousness of it still shock, so much so that I don't even know if it is being taught or anthologized or taught any more; it is almost as if the critical world has had its say on it and has moved on, either to

Religious Rationale For The Plague In Rosemary Horrox’s The Black Death

960 words - 4 pages Religious Rationale for the Plague in Rosemary Horrox’s The Black Death After the September 11th, 2001 attacks, prominent religious figures claimed that depraved American lifestyles were to blame for the bombings; Protestant leader Jerry Falwell came forth and stated that the attacks were a manifestation of God’s irritation at impious people. This attitude stems from a reaction to contemporary events, but possesses roots that date back to

2 Poems From "Death Of A Naturalist" And Heaney's Techniques For Exploring The Theme Of Nature In His Poetry

1115 words - 5 pages change from good to bad very quickly. Heaney sometimes uses the theme of nature as an analogy for other arguments. For example, in the first poem, he suggests that what is true for blackberries may be true of good things generally: how these never last. Nowadays however we can preserve our fruit by freezing it - so does this mean that hopes are not disappointed after all? This is also done in "Death of a Naturalist" where in the heart of civilisation there is this wild element, Heaney seems to suggest that it is also in the very heart of man; that every man has an untamed and wild streak buried in the very deepest parts of himself.

Born On 27th Oct Essay

618 words - 3 pages Born on October 27, 1932, in Boston, Sylvia Plath mainly wrote confessional poetry. Plath's life was marked by periods of severe depression and multiple suicide attempts. The death of her father and betrayal of her husband forced her into a state of paranoia and motivated her to write poems about her sufferings. In the poem, Lady Lazarus, Plath employs the character of Lady Lazarus to echo the poet's self as a way of expressing her mania towards