Daddy by Sylvia Plath Is there a poem which genuinely shocked or inspired you? Explain what aspects of the poem language and ideas produced this response. The poem “Daddy” by the American poet Sylvia Plath is the first poem I have read which has left me with a feeling of absolute shock. This is due to the main theme being based on the poet’s hatred towards the memory of her father, who left her when she was a young girl. The whole tone is one of darkness, which is contrary to the image portrayed by the title “Daddy.” The vivid language is shown through ideas, imagery and rhyme, which enhances the tone leaving the reader in shock. On initial reading the poem appears to be written in a child-like manner, as it includes nursery type rhymes but the tone quickly begins to darken: “Daddy, I have had to kill you” My instant reaction is one of utter shock, as I could not imagine a child ever declaring such words.
In paying more attention to detail I discovered that it was not a child’s words, but a grown woman attempting to rid her mind of the guilt-oppressed memories of her father, who left her. The poem describes how her father left to become a Nazi in Germany: “I thought every German was you” This shows Sylvia Plath’s feelings towards the German Nazi Party, as they all believed in the same thing, the Aryan Race, just like her father. She even compares him to Adolf Hitler. I was shocked and confused by these statements, as the poet then refers to herself as being Jewish: “I began to talk like a Jew I think may well be a Jew” I imagine this is how the poet views the relationship between herself and her father. Him being a Nazi and her being a Jew. It is hard to grasp such a concept, as the Nazis wanted to exterminate the Jews by transferring them to concentration camps like Dachau, Auschwitz and Belsen.
Although these three poems are written by two very different authors, they both share a similarity in one aspect: they both confess to how the speakers truly look at their fathers. The first and second poems, "Daddy" and "Happy Father's Day," by Patrick Middleton, confess to feelings of regret, self-hatred, forgiveness, and a hidden love. However, Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" expresses a morbid hatred ...
The imagery of the concentration camps is further portrayed, in a horrific image, when the poet describes how she was unable to open up to her father and share her feelings: “The tongue stuck in my jaw. It stuck in a barb wired snare” The lack of closeness between father and daughter is emphasised throughout the entire poem. She explains how she could never talk to her father, as she was frightened of him due to his cold, hard exterior. I feel the barb wired snare also gives the impression of the poet being trapped in her origin, therefore unable to connect with her father. A feeling of shame is developed due to this situation. Imagery is continually used in this poem and it adds to the powerful impact of what is being said.
The word “black” emphasises the theme of death and evil, which is shown in the poem: black shoe, man in black, black heart Not only does the colour “black” highlight these themes but it contrast with the other colours used throughout the poem: bean green over blue, pretty red heart These are colours that are associated with life and tie in with the idea of child, therefore contrast sharply with “black.” I think this fierce contrast helps to build up to a shocking climax. This is made more dramatic by the echoing “oo” sound throughout, as it shows the poet’s immaturity, but it demonstrates her incomplete though desired, end to mourning. The hatred the poet shows towards her father culminates when she describes her father as a vampire draining her of blood, her spirit and individuality. Finally she can take no more and has to destroy all of the memories she has of her father: “There’s a stake in your fat black heart” Now she is released from his memories and is free. “Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through” Overall I felt this was a distressing poem, which left me with no other feeling than shock, as I cannot understand how anyone could express their feelings about their father in this way. When I first read this poem I found the subject matter very disturbing and did not want to continue reading.
Compare and Contrast the ways in which the poet describes the breakdown if the relationship. Comment on the effectiveness of their verse-craft I chose to compare the poems: An Anniversary, by Vernon ScannelDismissal, by John Tripp A Winters Tale, by D. H. Lawrence In the poem 'An Anniversary'; the poet describes the relationship and it's breakdown as two leaves on a river, this is and example of ' ...
However the clever use of language techniques such as imagery and rhyme held my attention and ensured that I finished reading it and actually appreciated it in spite of the fact I was shocked by it’s content.