Poetry Analysis: Part 1 of 5

“Daddy” by Sylvia Plath
Read the poem here

Throughout the entire poem, there is a struggle being portrayed about how Plath truly feels about her father. It starts out simple enough, rhyming and almost song-like but it quickly takes a dark turn and continues to dive deeper as it goes on. By the fifth stanza, the reader is shown in great detail just how strained the relationship is: ‘I never could talk to you / The tongue stuck in my jaw.‘ The author makes many references to the divide between the Nazis and the Jews and she compares it to the relationship with her father. By the twelfth stanza, Plath is even referencing her first attempt at suicide, ‘At twenty I tried to die / And get back, back, back to you.’ She goes on to speak about making a model of her father, which would be her husband. Plath provides intensely vivid imagery and metaphors to show the reader how she feels about her father, even when it is conflicting. The darkness is solidified with many mentions of color: black shoe, one gray toe, my pretty red heart, a man in black, the black telephone and lastly, your fat black heart.

Sylvia Plath
Image Courtesy of Brain Pickings

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