Themes In Sylvia Plath's 'Daddy And Daddy'

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Instead we are treated to images of neglect, abuse, cruelty and oppression. Both poets use titles to create initial impressions of a father as being defending, protective and loving. ‘Daddy’ evokes an affectionate childhood term that is only used on a man who deserves this loving evocation. ‘Daddy’ suggests someone deeply cared for and appreciated. Meanwhile ‘The Bee God’ suggests something paternalistic, with ‘God” reserved for the supreme creator, patriarchal and benevolent, and ‘Bee’, that which is industrious and productive, producing that which is nourishing, wholesome and sweet. Both poets use titles which create sustaining images that lead the reader into a false sense of security, only to have that quickly destroyed by disturbing images that trouble, unsettle and alarm.

In ‘Daddy’ by Sylvia Plath, the poet uses sixteen five-line verses and constructs poisonous and disturbing attack on her father. She opens with a disturbing and negative image, an accusation ‘You do not do, you do not do’ using repetition to underpin this tone of anger and resentment, with the image of a ‘black shoe’, perhaps suggesting the oppression of a school uniform but also something innocuous, inoffensive and unobjectionable but something that imprisons at the same time. She continues with imagery of oppression, using a simile, ‘in which I have lived like a foot for thirty years, poor and white’ suggesting something that is downtrodden and deprived too timid to either be seen or to notice.

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