Poetry Analysis - Daddy by Sylvia Plath

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Alex Muench Mrs. Evans Honors/Pre-AP American Literature 22 May 2012 Poetry Analysis: Daddy by Sylvia Plath “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath is about Sylvia and her father and their relationship. Sylvia Plath starts the poem, “Daddy”, by saying “You do not do, you do not do”, “you” referring to her father. This repetition of “You do not do” gives it a sing-songy feel. In stanza 1, Sylvia Plath uses a simile to compare her Dad to a black shoe, in which she is the foot. By using this comparison it symbolizes the suffocation and unhappiness she felt, as well as how she feels small compared to her father. The way Plath describes the shoe as black shows the anger and darkness she feels because of her Dad. She goes on to say “…poor and white, barely daring to breathe or Achoo.” This resembles how she feels scared and trapped. In stanza 2, Plath says, “You died before I had time-“. This line is open to multiple interpretations. She might mean before she had time to make him proud or before she had time to get to know him or even before she had time to kill him herself. The reader is left unsure which creates a dramatic suspense. The speaker then uses a metaphor to describe her father. She writes, “Ghastly statue with one gray toe, big as a Frisco seal” The simile “big as a Frisco [San Francisco] seal” also shows how immense he is to her, physically and emotionally. Continuing into the next stanza, she finishes the aforementioned thought by saying, “And a head in the freakish Atlantic,” thus metaphorically comparing her father to a statue, making him seem large and perhaps infinite and pervasive in all aspects of life when she says he stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic. This is a hyperbole that hints at maybe her angst is unwarranted. Plath’s father resembles an unpleasant, big creature. All the metaphors, similes, and imagery aids to the feel of the speaker being
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