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Sylvia Plath And Her Poetry Essay

1690 words - 7 pages

Two of the most popular poets of the 19th and 20th centuries are Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, respectively. These women were born nearly one hundred years apart, but their writing is strikingly similar, especially through the use of the speaker. In fact, in Sylvia Plath’s poem “Daddy”, she writes about her father and compares him to domineering figures, such as Adolf Hitler, a teacher, and a vampire; and in Emily Dickinson’s poem “She dealt her pretty words like blades—“, she talks about bullies and how they affect a person’s life—another domineering figure. Despite being born in different centuries, Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath are parallel in a multitude of ways, such as their choice in story, their choice for themes, and their choice of and as a narrator.
Emily Dickinson is regarded as “America’s most original poet” and was born on December 10th, 1830 (CITATION1). During her life, she spent most of her time alone in her house, spending time with only herself and writing poetry. When she died at the age of fifty-five, her sister decided to publish the 1,800 poems Emily had written. Before her death, Emily had only published ten of her poems. Because of this, she was not widely known before she died, unlike Sylvia Plath. Sylvia Plath, on the other hand, is a well-known author and poet. She even won the Pulitzer Prize award for Poetry in 1982 (CITATION2). Sylvia was similar to Emily Dickinson in that she was not an outgoing person. In fact, she was often depressed, and eventually took her own life in 1963 (CITATION3). While unfortunate, Sylvia Plath had written many popular poems, such as “Daddy”, short stories, and a semi-autobiographical novel called “The Bell Jar”.
As mentioned earlier, Sylvia Plath’s poem, “Daddy”, discusses the idea that the speaker’s father was a dominating figure in her life. She compares him to other dominate figures, such as Adolf Hitler, an overbearing teacher, and a vampire; in Emily Dickinson’s poem, “She dealt her pretty words like blades—“, the speaker is talking about a bully. However, the speaker in this case is also talking about the pain a bully’s words can do, in addition to how much a bully can control the speaker’s life. As a matter of fact, in Emily’s poem, the speaker talks about how a bully’s words hurt on lines 3 and 4: “And every One unbared a Nerve//Or wantoned with a bone—“. On these lines, the speaker is saying that each word feels like someone is touching a nerve or striking the bone inside of her. While Emily Dickinson’s poem is more literal, I believe the same can be interpreted in Sylvia Plath’s poem, but in a more metamorphic sense. On lines 24-26 of “Daddy”, the speaker says: “I never could talk to you.//The tongue stuck in my jaw.//It stuck in a barb wire snare.” She is stating that speaking to her father is impossible because her tongue feels like it is “hooked” in barbed wire. Realistically, the speaker is afraid of speaking to or against her father’s word. ...

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