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How would you describe the speaker's depiction of her father?

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wyoflash22 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:25 AM via web

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How would you describe the speaker's depiction of her father?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:21 AM (Answer #1)

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Plath's vision of the father in "Daddy" is a dictatorial one.  There are many images in the poem that lend to this.  The description is one in which the father is seen as an oppressive or dominant figure.  The "black shoe" in which the speaker has lived is one such image.  It brings out the element of control that is a part of the father's depiction.  The speaker being "a Jew" and the father being "a Nazi" is another example.  The inclusion of the Holocaust in the poem helps to enhance the controlling notion of the father as one who dominates and seeks to control the child.  Imagery of devlis and "vampires" are also evident, helping to illuminate the speaker's depiction of the father in the poem.  The controlling image of the father is so strong that it denies the ability of speech.  The child being unable to speak to the domineering notion of the father is seen in “The tongue stuck in my jaw,/ It stuck in a barb wire snare./ Ich, ich, ich, ich.”  This helps to communicate how much of a silencing figure the father was for the speaker.  In the final line of "Daddy, Daddy, you bastard, I'm through" is a sense of triumphing over such a towering force.  This ending depiction makes clear that the father was an almost immovable object throughout the speaker's life that finally was removed at the end of the poem.

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