Sylvia Plath Essay

Submitted By katiecrail
Words: 826
Pages: 4

Sylvia Plath’s poem “Daddy,” shows the victimization of the speaker as she tries to pull away from her father’s force that is haunting her. Plath crafts her text with very vivid imagery and metaphors pertaining to the Holocaust. The poem repeats in 5-line stanzas with a meter and rhyme scheme. This resembles the structure of a nursery rhyme. The poem is written in first person and the speaker is a girl who is a daughter. The poem deals with a girl’s strong attachment to her father who has passed away. This has caused her a lot of sadness in her life. The speaker struggles throughout the poem to be “through,” with her father even though he is always on her mind. The poem’s structure and form creates a psychological control in the poem and exposes the struggle and victimization that the speaker feels. Roger Platizky published a review in Explicator in 1997 that exposes the effect the poem’s structure has. The image of victimization occurs throughout the poem through the structure, word usage, and use of metaphors. This can be seen by the word usage of “Nazis, swastikas, barbed wire, fascists, brutes, devils, and vampires” (Platizky 1). Roger Platizky explains that the use of these words are very frantic, imposing, and vituperative which makes it seem more out of control then it really is (1). Plath’s use of end-stopped lines in certain spots alludes to the speaker giving and taking control of her thoughts. Of the 80 lines, 37 of them are end-stopped, which is unlike the patterns of images which keep piling up one after another (1). The stanzas that have the most end-stopped lines such as these lines 7, 14, and 16, “You died before I had time/I used to pray to recover you/In the German tongue, in the Polish town” (Plath). Lines 7, 14, and 16 are alluding to negative things such as torturers, concentration camps, and vampires (1). Platizky explains that the stanzas with the least such as lines 1, “You do not do, you do not do,” and line 11 “And a head in the freaking Atlantic,” that they “characteristically show more ambivalence toward victimization. In effect, the speaker takes away some of the power of her alleged tormenters by end stopping their lines” (1). This is also seen by Plath’s use of enjambment, which relaxes the force of masculine rhymes that end most of her stanzas. Plath’s use of structure exposes the sadness and confliction towards the speaker’s father. “Daddy,” serves as a type of confession and examination of the speaker’s father’s influence on her. The speaker explains the different things that her father was to her. The speaker refers to herself as a foot and her father as a black shoe in which she has lived for so long in the lines: “Any more, black shoe/In which I have lived like a foot/For thirty years, poor and white” (Plath). This exposes that her father was someone who she relied on and someone who protected her and that she felt protected by even though he is no longer living. The speaker felt protected in his memory even though it was consuming her. Throughout the poem she struggles with letting him go even though she knows she needs too. The speaker also refers to her father as being God-like. Even after he…