Fatal Attraction

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"But they pulled me out of the sack,/And they stuck me together like glue./And then I knew what to do./I made a model of you"

- "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath

I chose to examine this quote because of its familiarity. So many of us, men or women, choose partners that remind us of our parent. And this can be a good thing or, as in this case, a bad thing. In the stanza immediately before the one quoted above, Plath speaks of trying to die at twenty to get back to her father. After this attempt proved unsuccessful, Plath did what she thought was the next best thing: she married a man that reminded her of her father. Perhaps Plath thought she could receive the attention she craved from her father from this man. I did not gather that the issue with her father was inattention from this poem, but from another one of Plath's poems: "For a Fatherless Son". In this poem, Plath writes, "You will be aware of an absence, presently,/Growing beside you, like a tree" and "an utter lack of attention." Plath goes on to describe the boy as being dumb and stupid, and to say that she finds no face but her own in the boy's face. This can be compared to Plath saying that she could hardly speak in "Daddy". Immediately following this stanza, Plath describes her husband as a vampire resembling her father who sucked her blood during their marriage. In other words, her father and husband literally sucked the life out of her. At the end of the poem, Plath speaks of being through, but I think Plath could only relieve herself of her troubles by taking her own life, which she did at the tender age of 30. Perhaps if we were to read a poem featuring the small boy from "My Papa's Waltz" at a later stage in life, we could find similarities when compared with this poem. In fact, the hanging on like death. I would say, is a feeling evident in both poems as they are despite the age differences. Both characters also have distorted ideas concerning their relationships with their father, and others as is the case with Plath and her husband.

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL267/2009/03/poetry_selections_plath_blog_b/ 

2 Comments

Chelsie Bitner said:

It is very interesting how her poems tied in together can tell you her life story.
But, yes, why else would a women want a husband like her father unless she wanted to be loved by someone like him and have the sense of knowing that it was just her father who was heartless.

Alicia Campbell said:

In a way, it was as if she thought she was keeping the memory of her father alive by marrying someone like him. Unfortunately, this man did not embody the most edearing qualities, but then again her father must not have either. It seemed as if Plath did not experience enough heartache the first time, she had to finish herself off the second time around.

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