Daddy, Sylvia Plath
"Daddy" is a poem written by American poet Sylvia Plath. It was written on October 12, 1962, shortly before her death, and published posthumously in Ariel in 1963. The poem's implications and thematic concerns have been discussed academically, with many differing conclusions. The relative popularity of "Daddy" can be attributed to Plath's vivid use of imagery and controversial use of the Holocaust as a metaphor. Critics have also viewed "Daddy" as a response to Plath's complex relationship with her father, Otto Plath, who died shortly after her eighth birthday. (From Wikipedia)
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Daddy, Sylvia Plath
This poem is called a confessional poem. Confessional poetry is poetry written about true events and/or feeling in a poets life. We happen to know from history that this poem contains elements of Sylvia Plath's real experiences with and feelings about her dad.
What do you notice about the structure of the poem?
Plath describes her father as a bag full of God. What literary device is she using in this line?
What is the difference between stanza one and stanza two?
Now that you've read the poem, please explain what is ironic about the title of the poem, and Plath's use of the word Daddy throughout the poem.
Plath is using ______________ as an extended metaphor.
Please list some of the words and terms that tell you Plath is using the Holocaust as a metaphor.
What rhyme sound does Plath use throughout the poem, albeit irregularly?
What color is repeated as a motif in Plath's poem? Please provide at least three quotes from the text that include references to this color.
What is the tone of this line?
This is a very controversial poem, and some critics had a big problem with Plath comparing her father to a Nazi, and herself to a Jew, and with her general evocation of the Holocaust as a metaphor. Please take a moment to consider why this would be an issue for some people and explain.
Please read the poem in the link below by Theodore Roethke and write a paragraph comparing or contrasting Plath's poem about her father to Roethke's.http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172103
Plath uses so many metaphors and similes, and so much imagery, that this straightforward line sticks out; its tone is plain and honest, not sarcastic or angry. As you continue to read, pay attention to lines that shift in tone and mood.
Sylvia Plath suffered from depression for much of her adult life, and in 1963 she committed suicide at the age of 30. Plath's life, particularly her marriage to the poet Ted Hughes, was the subject of the 2003 movie "Sylvia," starring Gwyneth Paltrow. (This annotation contains an image)
Plath wrote the poem "Daddy" soon after learning that her husband Ted Hughes had left her for another woman. Do you think this could have had an impact on the contents of the poem? What lines suggest this could be the case?
When Plath writes "Taroc pack," she is referring to a pack of Tarot cards, which are used to tell fortunes. (This annotation contains an image)
In this simile, Plath compares her father's toe to a San Francisco seal. The imagery in this stanza is meant to portray her father as heavy, large and statue-like.
Plath and her husband, Ted Hughes (This annotation contains an image)
In fact, Plath's father, Otto Plath, died shortly after her eighth birthday as a result of undiagnosed diabetes.