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Daddy, Vampires, Black HeartsIn the poem Daddy , Sylvia Plath says that there are women who, due toearly conditioning, find themselves without the tools to deal with oppressive andcontrolling men. They are left feeling helpless and hopeless. For some women, thestruggle is never resolved, others take most of a lifetime. For a lucky few, they aregranted a reprieve. The speaker in this poem is Sylvia Plath. The poem describes her feelings ofoppression and her battle to come to grips with the issues of this power imbalance.
The poem also conjures the struggle many women face in a male dominated society. The conflict of this poem is male authority and control versus the right of afemale to be herself, to make choices, and be free of male domination. Plath sconflicts begin in her relationship with her father and continues with her husband. The intensity of this conflict is extremely apparent as she uses examples that cannotbe ignored.
The atrocities of NAZI Germany are used as symbols of the horror ofmale domination.
The constant and crippling manipulation of the male, as heintroduces oppression and hopelessness into the lives of his women, is equated withthe twentieth century s worst period. Words such as Luftwaffe, panzerman, and Meinkampf look are used to descibe her father and husband as well as all maledomination. The frequent use of the word black throughout the poem conveys afeeling of gloom and suffocation. Like many women in society, we know that Plath felt oppressed and stifledthroughout her life by her use of the simile I have lived like a shoe for thirty years poor and white, barely able to breath or Achoo.
The use of similes and metaphorssuch as Chuffing me off like a Jew. A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belson. and Ithink I may well be a Jew clearly shows the feelings of anguished hopelessness and the ripping agony she must have felt. The agelessness of this poem is
guaranteed as there will always be women who feel the same torture that isdescribed. . Strong images are conveyed throughout the poem. The words marble-heavy, a.bag full of God conveys the omniscience of her father s authority and theheaviness it weighed on her throughout her life. The vampire who said he was you, and drank my blood for a year, seven years if you want to know describe herhusband and the ability of male power to strip a person of their own sense ofthemselves. The poem is written in stanzas of five short lines. These lines remind me of a Mike Tyson jab, short but extremely powerful. An example of this If I ve killed one manl ve killed two– The vampire who said he was you. The powerful imagery of theselines overpowers any of the rhyme scheme. The tone of this poem is an adult engulfed in outrage. This outrage, at times, slips into the sobs of a child. This is evident by Plath s continued use of the worddaddy and the childlike repitition You do not do, you do not do and Daddy daddy, you bastard. Fear from her childhood moves her in directions that will takeher far from herself.
In one line in the poem she brings us starkly into the world of achild s fear. She uses words that sound like the words of a child staring out at usfrom behind a bardwire snare I have always been scared of you. This poem portrays a bleak picture of life for some women. However, weknow that Plath was able to resolve her conflicts. She states Daddy I ve had to killyou and Daddy, you can lie back now. There sa stake in your big fat black heart Athough it appears that Plath has reached resolution this is not the case for manywomen who find themselves under the thumb of a male. These women should lookto this poem for help. It is a beautiful argument that clearly shows that she climbedfrom total domination by a male to freedom.
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