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"Daddy" By Sylvia Plath. Essay

1848 words - 7 pages

DaddyBy Sylvia PlathYou do not do, you do not doAny more, black shoeIn which I have lived like a footFor thirty years, poor and white,Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.Daddy, I have had to kill you.You died before I had time --Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,Ghastly statue with one gray toeBig as a Frisco sealAnd a head in the freakish AtlanticWhere it pours bean green over blueIn the waters off beautiful Nauset.I used to pray to recover you.Ach, du.In the German tongue, in the Polish townScraped flat by the rollerOf wars, wars, wars.But the name of the town is common.My Polack friendSays there are a dozen or two.So I never could tell where youPut your foot, your root,I never could talk to you.The tongue stuck in my jaw.It stuck in a barb wire snare.Ich, ich, ich, ich,I could hardly speak.I thought every German was you.And the language obsceneAn engine, an engineChuffing 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 ViennaAre not very pure or true.With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luckAnd my Taroc pack and my Taroc packI may be a bit of a Jew.I have always been scared of you,With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.And your neat mustacheAnd your Aryan eye, bright blue.Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You --Not God but a swastikaSo black no sky could squeak through.Every woman adores a Fascist,The boot in the face, the bruteBrute 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 footBut no less a devil for that, no notAny less the black man whoBit my pretty red heart in two.I was ten when they buried you.At twenty I tried to dieAnd 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 lookAnd 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 youAnd 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 heartAnd 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.Ever since it was published, Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" has been widely regarded as a stunningly powerful piece of poetry, full of shocking imagery and visceral hatred. The unsettling circumstances surrounding Plath's suicide three months after writing "Daddy" only fuel the fires of speculation that have been burning ever since readers first started trying to unravel its mysteries. To attempt to summarize "Daddy" would be an injustice to its many layers of meaning; However, in short, it is a poem in which the speaker tells of her father's early...

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