Sylvia Plath- Ariel, Whiteness, Daddy

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Comparative Essay In her poems Ariel, Whiteness I Remember and Daddy, Sylvia Plath explores a variety of issues and conveys various themes in some very interesting ways. And while some of the themes and tones used throughout the poem are similar, others are very starkly contrasted. I will explore these two opposing degrees in the following essay. One theme consistent throughout all three poems is despondency. Whilst poems like Ariel begin with release, and Daddy ends with hopefulness, wholly their content is rather dejected and joyless. This mood of unhappiness is expressed through lines like; “Suicidal, at one with the drive”-Ariel, “I’ve gone nowhere since but going’s been tame deviation”-Whiteness I remember and “I have always been scared of you”-Daddy. These quotation, are just excerpts from each poem wherein the entire tone is one of mostly gloom. In this way, the reader forms an emotional connection with Plath. A connection built on sympathy for the obvious seriousness of her unhappiness. A second theme common throughout the poems is one of restriction and lack of freedom. Ariel however begins with a stark contrast of restriction, and the opening stanzas tell a story of happiness, liberty and autonomy. This contrast is created by phrases like “substances blue” and “how one we grow” in the open stanza, the contrast however is supplied by phrases from the 7th stanza down; “dead hand dead stringencies”, “The child’s cry...and I am the arrow”. This contrast between freedom and restrictions is created again, but in a different way, in Daddy. Whilst Ariel begins with blissfulness and freedom, Daddy tells of Plath’s fight for it against her father. Restrictions are implied by phrases like “In which I have lived like a foot for thirty years, poor and white, barely daring to breath of achoo” and the very next line reads, “Daddy, I have had to kill you.” The themes
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