Literary Analysis Of Daddy, By Sylvia Plath

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“Daddy” by Sylvia Plath is a daughter’s overdue words to her dead father. As a vessel for the speaker’s emotional outbreak, the poem alternates among her idolation and fear, and her love and rejection for him, feelings that she constantly struggles between. The work reveals the destructive nature of the memory of the speaker’s father, and portrays her final attempt to break free of its shadow. The poem is one big apostrophe directed at the speaker’s dead father, and in doing so she regresses into her childhood self. She addresses her father as “daddy” like a little kid, speaks in a child-like abrupt manner, and begins the poem with “you do not do/you do not do/ anymore black shoe,” lines that resemble the old nursery rhyme “There is an old woman who lived in a shoe”. However, this is not a happy child, but one with frustration and unresolved conflicts with her father, as she calls him “evil” and a “bastard”. Furthermore, the way an adult woman completely turns into her childhood self suggests an obsession and a fixation within the past, a phenomenon commonly associated with psychological deficiencies stemming from unsolved childhood issues. These observations correspond to how the speaker metaphorically refers to her father as a “black shoe” that she had to live in, showing her inability to overcome the shadow of her late father. Thus, by addressing him directly instead of referring to him in the past tense, the speaker confronts her obsession and tries to escape the
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