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March 23, 2009

Sylvia Plath: Daddy

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. ---from Daddy by Sylvia Plath

This poem seemed to show conflicting feelings toward what I assume is a father. From the quote I included it would seem that the father or father figure died relatively early during the author's life and so she feels as though she knows little of him as a person apart from the words of others. The poem suggests that while she misses her father she also despises him, which I took as meaning that maybe she resents him for not being there for her--father dies so child wants to die as well? The Nazi/German references made in regard to the father are quite disturbing almost to the point of being comical, although I'm not sure if the author is saying that her father was a Nazi or perhaps this is a metaphor for how she felt about him? I'm unsure about this poem. I feel that I would need to do an authorial inerpretation of it since it seems so personal to the author yet unrelatable to my own life. Simply said, this poem did nothing for me.

other reactions

Posted by QuinnKerno at March 23, 2009 2:07 PM


Quinn, I had trouble with this poem as well, I just could not get it totally. I know that Plath’s father dies while she was young, but the resentment we do not understand that totally. Other than the fact that she resents her father for leaving her so early, and that she blames that on him. We do not really know much more behind that, and the very strong and despiteful tone she uses by using reference to a Nazi soldier and the harsh words used to get the readers into hating her father to. She references about trying to die to get back to him, and she has hints of other issues in this poem I feel but just cannot quite put my finger on all of what that is though. Bitterness to many aspects shine throughout this poem.

Posted by: Georgia Sper at March 25, 2009 8:58 PM

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