February 28, 2005

Daddy

When first looking at the title of this poem, "Daddy" I thought it was going to be a nice, sincere poem. I was definetly proved wrong. Ok for this poem it was very confusing, and I am still confused by it. There are some facts that are clear: The daughter hates her father. I believe that she killed him, but I do not know if everyone would agree with that, so for now it's just my opinion. There were many places mentioned ... Tyrol - Eastern Alps of Western Austria and Northern Italy, which was passed back and forth by Austria and Vienna. Dachau- A city of southeast Germany north-northwest of Munich. It was the site of a Nazi concentration camp built in 1935 and captured by the Allies in April 1945. Auschwitz- a Nazi concentration camp for Jews in southwestern Poland during World War II. Belsen- A village of northern Germany north of Hanover. It was the site of a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. It also had to do alot of nationalities like Luftwaffe, which is a German airforce and Arayan- is a Non-Caucasian Jew. Thanks to Karissa- Meinkampf- was the name that Hitler titled his book while he was in jail before he became dictator - it means "My struggle". Also Karissa said Ich means I in German but when I looked it up at Dictionary.com I came up with a contagious disease of tropical marine and freshwater fishes, caused by a protozoan (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis) and characterized by small white pustules on the skin and eyes. I can't decide which one I think relates to this poem more. Since it has some Anti-
Anti-Semitic influence in this poem I am assuming that this women does not like that she is somewhat talking and being mistaken as a Jew. It also has some reference to a black man so I don't know if that contributes soemthing to this poem.

Well here is my interpretation after taking the paragraph above into thought.

She declares that she will no longer live like a slave and continue to live in fear of breathing or sneezing. She had to kill her father -- but he died before she had time (time for what?) This is where it starts to get confusing:

Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off the beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.

(Did someone tie him up and place him in a bag and then they stuffed marbles in it and finally threw him into the Atlantic Ocean?) And since she was only ten years old she had to move to Polish and she didn't fit in because she spoke German and all it was was a struggle for her.

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

(Here I think she is talking about when she went to visit his grave but she didn't know which one he was because they didn't have tombstones so she just sat there silently looking)

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene

(I have no idea what "it" refers to but lets make "it" refer to her father. She stuck her father with a barb wire and had dreams of how mean and how brutal he was towards her so she couldn't understand the language because she blocked it out of her head because it was too brutle for her to hear)

An engine, an engine,
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.


(Now I think she is becoming bitter because she is being mistaken for a Jewish person because she lives in Poland and she is describign to us what a horrible family history she has)

I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You--

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I'm finally through.
The black telephone's off at the root,
The voices just can't worm through.

If I've killed one man, I've killed two--
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There's a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.

(I could not find a definiton of gobbledygoo, but in these verses she is starting to focus more on her father, she gives a detailed description and shows her emotions. She called her father an animal quite a few times, which gives a a pretty clear image of how she thought he was, but then she says she missed him and even once wished that she could die so she could be with him. She jumped in his coffin and went on with her life and she found herself a husband who was in the image of her father. She later realized what a mistake she made, so she killed him and realized that she killed both of them because of all the pain and torture they put her through. She was sick of being controlled and treated like dirt so she decided she had enough- and everyone knows that she has had such a horrible life because of her father and that is why she has such resentment towards him)

Posted by GinaBurgese at February 28, 2005 11:44 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Hey Gina, great entry! You really went deep into this one.

"I have no idea what "it" refers to"--I think that (with the previous line "The tongue stuck in my jaw") I think that the antecedent of the pronoun "it" would be the tongue--her tongue stuck "in a barb wire snare."

I can see references to concentration camps and, generally, the Holocaust--Scott did a great job of bringing up more about this in a comment on Tiffany's blog. He mentioned Dachau like you did, and that it was opened only six weeks after Hitler gained recognition as Chancellor.

Posted by: Karissa at March 2, 2005 9:11 PM

The poem's referrence is to her father but the person she is trying to kill is her husband, Plath often confuses her father and her husband, the 2 male figures she hated the most. Her husband, (another poet Ted Huges) cheated on her and encouraged her many suicide attempts.

Posted by: Beatriz at January 17, 2006 3:32 PM

Very nice poem you have there Gina. You can check the english definition for the word I online with the oxid dictionary http://dictionary.oxid.ro/Definition/i/index.html and also I synonyms, meaning and related terms using oxid thesaurus, an online thesauri: http://thesaurus.oxid.ro/Definition/i/index.html
you can search very fast for with the main page of the dictionaries: http://oxid.ro

I`m shure it will be usefull for you gina, for your rimes, and for your poems.
Cheers

Posted by: Bogdan Brown at August 3, 2006 1:33 PM

Hello there. You did a good job interpreting the poem. Some parts were quite superficial though. But you'll get it some time.

I would like to add an interpretation on this stanza:

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

Interpretation: The swastika was the symbol of Hitler's regime. Also, Hitler was a Fascist, or a dictator who relied on demonizing a certain segment of the population to retain power. In the lines below, Plath refers to "A cleft in your chin instead of your foot." This line is an allusion to the idea that the devil has a cleft or club foot, or hooves like a pig. "The black man" is another reference to the devil. Therefore, in the lines below Plath alludes to popular images of the devil in describing her father.

I would like to read more of your interpretations of different poems. I encourage you to join writing contests for you have the talent.

Continue reading and writing. Extend your talents within.

Good day.

(Please comment back for more info. on the upcoming writing contests. Thank you.)

Posted by: Dr. Adrienne at November 27, 2006 6:45 AM

Hey. Good job there. The interpretation was quite superficial though. Oh well, you'll get it some time.

Posted by: Dr. Adrienne at November 27, 2006 6:47 AM

Firstly, if you are going to attempt to analyze Plath, make sure what you are saying has some substance, credibility, and intelligence to it.
I will first dissect this incredibly dumb (for the lack of a better word) line:

QUOTE:(Did someone tie him up and place him in a bag and then they stuffed marbles in it and finally threw him into the Atlantic Ocean?) And since she was only ten years old she had to move to Polish and she didn't fit in because she spoke German and all it was was a struggle for her.

Nobody tied her father up and put marbles in the sack his body was in. In fact, no one threw him into the ocean. Also, itís not marbles as in the orbs you play games withÖbut instead marble like the floor or counter top covering. And most glaringly of them all, itís poLAND not poLISH.
I will go on to explain why you are clearly insane.

QUOTE:(Now I think she is becoming bitter because she is being mistaken for a Jewish person because she lives in Poland and she is describign to us what a horrible family history she has)

What this is saying, is that she is oppressed by her father [the Nazi] and so she feels like a jew.
Seriously.
Plath is a genius. Your attempts at analyzing her poems without any real idea of what metaphors, similes, and allusions are is a disgrace and an insult to her life and her work.

Even after all this confusion and stupidity you seem to understand the gist of what she is saying. Ideas should be original, but not bizarre and irrational. As many others have said, even though it may be in politer terms, you are beginning to understand the deeper meaning of this great poem. She has many more, and I highly encourage you read them.

Posted by: Frida Kahlo at March 19, 2007 10:27 PM

Firstly, if you are going to attempt to analyze Plath, make sure what you are saying has some substance, credibility, and intelligence to it.
I will first dissect this incredibly dumb (for the lack of a better word) line:

QUOTE: (Did someone tie him up and place him in a bag and then they stuffed marbles in it and finally threw him into the Atlantic Ocean?) And since she was only ten years old she had to move to Polish and she didn't fit in because she spoke German and all it was was a struggle for her.

Nobody tied her father up and put marbles in the sack his body was in. In fact, no one threw him into the ocean. Also, itís not marbles as in the orbs you play games withÖbut instead marble like the floor or counter top covering. And most glaringly of them all, itís poLAND not poLISH.
I will go on to explain why you are clearly insane.

QUOTE:(Now I think she is becoming bitter because she is being mistaken for a Jewish person because she lives in Poland and she is describign to us what a horrible family history she has)

This is saying that she is oppressed by her father [the Nazi] and so she feels like a Jew.
Seriously.
Plath is a genius. Your attempts at analyzing her poems without any real idea of what metaphors, similes, and allusions are is a disgrace and an insult to her life and her work.

Even after all this confusion and stupidity you seem to understand the gist of what she is saying. Ideas should be original, but not bizarre and irrational. As many others have said, even though it may be in politer terms, you are beginning to understand the deeper meaning of this great poem. She has many more, and I highly encourage you read them.

Posted by: Fi Kazi at March 20, 2007 12:15 PM

hi, thank you for the interpretation. We have to do this poem for matric and it really helps when someone interprets a poem as difficult as this one.

My interpretation of "Daddy i have had to kill you. You died before i had time" Means that she lived her whole life in fear because of him and the only way to get free is to kill him. But he died before she could do that and that means that she's not free yet. The only way she can be freed is if she talks to him and accuses him of keeping her captive in a life of fear. But this is difficult as she struggles to speak to him. Her tongue is stuck in her jaw like it's stuck in barbed wire and that refers to the viciousness of her struggle to actually speak to him. Then refering to the "Marble heavy..." I think she is describing her father in a weird way. He was a cold man or she is describing his grave or the graveyard. The head in the atlantic is an area of water shaped like a head where blue and green water mixes and it's there where she prays for the father's soul. Oh and the ich, ich, ich is clearly the way she stutters because she struggles to speak! The meaning is I, I, I...
I hope this helped and that the poem makes a little more sense.

Posted by: Ane Smit at July 14, 2007 11:52 AM
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