Daddy


A Critique of the Poem "Daddy"

In the poem "Daddy," Sylvia Plath describes her true feelings about her deceased father. Throughout the dialogue, the reader can find many instances that illustrate a great feeling of hatred toward the author?s father. She begins by expressing her fears of her father and how he treated her. Subsequently she conveys her outlook on the wars being fought in Germany. She continues by explaining her life since her father and how it has related to him.
In the first stanza the reader realizes that Sylvia Plath is scared of her father. It is quite clear that she never spoke up to him to defend herself. In the first line it is apparent that something is ending. "You do not do, you do not do any more, black shoe," this shows that she feels that her father cannot hurt her anymore. Also, she knows that she has to let him know how she feels. "In which I have lived like a foot for thirty years, poor and white, barely daring to breathe or achoo," this expresses her fear of her father, and illustrates the fact that she has remained silent, unable to speak up or even breath any words against him. "Daddy, I have had to kill you. You died before I had time--," this portrays the extent of her hatred toward him. That she was so appalled by his character that she would end his life if only she had the strength. But he died before she grew strong enough to stand up to his horrible countenance. The next portion of the poem, "Marble-heavy, a bag full of God, Ghastly statue with one grey toe big as a Frisco seal," shows how large she sees his presence. Comparing him to the weight of marble with the powers of God. However the one grey toe, which was injured, and allowed for sickness to set in, brought him to nothing. Something she had not the power to do, and something as insignificant as a tiny sore could.
"In 1940, Otto developed a sore on his toe and ignored the condition until gangrene overtook the toe and he was hospitalized. Doctors performed surgery, but it was too late. Otto?s toe was amputated in hopes of saving him. Sylvia?s father passed away in November, 1940." Source: Butscher, Edward. Sylvia Plath: Method and Madness. New York: The Seabury Press, 1976.
The next passage, "And a head in the freakish Atlantic where it pours bean green over blue, in the waters off beautiful Nauset." describes how Sylvia felt when she heard of her fathers? infection in his foot. She thinks of it in a kind of hideous way that makes her sick. "I used to pray to recover you. Ach, du," shows me that she still cared about her father and prayed for him while he was ill. It is amazing that even though she knew her father didn?t care for her, Sylvia still cared enough for him to worry. But he still didn?t care that she worried. The passage "In the German tongue, in the Polish town scraped flat by the roller of wars, wars, wars,"shows the plot of the poem, where everything took place. This also hints on the period in history when this happened, however, it doesn?t tell us exactly. In the following stanza it explains further. "But the name of the town is common. My Polack friend says there are a dozen or two. So I never could tell where you put your foot, your root, I never could talk to you." This tells me that she is looking for where he is from. She doesn?t exactly know where he was raised or what his background is because there are many towns with the same name. Therefore, she is unable to understand his upbringing, which developed his coldhearted character.
As Sylvia gets older and begins to understand the wars in Germany, she relates her life to the many conflicts they bring with them. "The tongue stuck in my jaw. It stuck in a barbwire snare. Ich, ich, ich, ich, I could hardly speak." Again this describes her fear toward her father. She is so afraid of him that she can?t talk and speak out against him. The barbwire represents the war that was taking place. She relates to the victims of war and