Shoe of Protection

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"You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty year, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo."
- Slyvia Plath Daddy

In Slyvia Plath's poems, it is easy to see how the hardships she endured during her life played a large role in her poetry. The loss of a parent as at a young age is a very difficult thing for a child to deal with, and it often affects them throughout the rest of their lives. Plath characterizes her father as many different things throughout the poem Daddy. It was her reference to him as a shoe that stuck out to me the most.
          In my History of Western Medicine class, we just watched a movie on war medicine. In the film, there was a segment on how important it was for soldiers during World War I and World War II, to have sturdy, stable, and comfortable shoes. It talked about all the risks that wet, could feet could cause a solider. It also talked about how shoes were an important element in protection. The element of protection is what came to mind while reading lines 1-5 of Daddy.
          Even though her father is dead, Plath relates him to a shoe that she has lived in for a number of years. I took this to mean that even though he was no longer physically her life, his memory was still her shoe - or her protection. She relied on him to get her through life.
          Line  five says "Barely daring to breathe or Achoo." I think that his means Plath is afraid to ruin the memories she has of her father by doing anything really, even things that are not out of the ordinary. The blackness of the shoe symbolizes the death of her father and the darkness that surrounds his death.

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