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Sylvia Plath's "Daddy"

Sandra Ortiz Rebeca Espinosa

Rebeca Espinosa

on 9 January 2013

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Transcript of Sylvia Plath's "Daddy"

Sylvia Plath's
"Daddy" Sandra Ortiz
Rebeca Espinosa Contents Sylvia Plath
Socio-cultural approach
Conclusions "Daddy" Aird, Eileen. Sylvia Plath. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1974. Print.

Anderson, Sherwood. Winesburg Ohio. “The Book of the Grotesque”.

Plath, Sylvia. “Daddy.” Ariel. Ed. Robert Lowell. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1961. 49-51. Print.

Smith, Pamela A. “The Unitive Urge in the Poetry of Sylvia Plath.” The New England Quarterly 45.3 (1972): 323-339. Print.

Steiner, Nancy H. A Closer Look at Ariel: A Memory of Sylvia Plath. New York: Popular Library, 1973. Print.

Ramazani, Jaban. "Daddy, I Had to Kill You": Plath, Rage, and the Modern Elegy. PMLA 108.5 (1993): 1142-1156. Print.

Narbeshuber, Lisa. "The Poetics of Torture: The Spectacle of Sylvia Plath's Poetry. Canadian Review of American Studies 3.2 (2004): 185-203. Print.

Kandinsky, Wassily. De lo Espiritual en el Arte. Barcelona: Ediciones Paidós Ibérica, 1996. Print. Bibliography 1932 Boston, Massachusetts
born to Austrian mother/German father
father died of illness (age 9)
depression - suicide attempt (age 20) The Bell Jar
married Ted Hughes
1963 committed suicide (age 30) Sylvia Plath Grotesque Monomania

Distortion of reality ". . . the old man . . . would write hundreds of pages concerning this matter. The subject would become so big in his mind that he himself would be in danger of becoming a grotesque"
(Anderson 7) ". . . the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth, and tied to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood"
(Anderson 7) "Otto Plath . . . died when his daughter was nine and certainly could not have been the active German Nazi officer of the poem. However . . . one of his daughter's obsessions was that, given other circumstances, it might have been that he would have become a Nazi."
(Aird 78) Sherwood Anderson
"The Book of the Grotesque" I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You—

("Daddy" 38-42) Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

("Daddy" 53-57) But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If I've killed one man, I've killed two—
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

("Daddy" 58-62, 68-72) "The ambivalent feelings of fear and love have remained with the daughter as an obsession which dwarfs and restricts her own life, and in an attempt to rid herself of it she must ritually destroy the memory of her father"

(Aird 80) "Daddy" Obsession with dead father Portrayal of Otto Plath as German Nazi officer Symbolic murder of father (and husband) "Daddy"as a modern elegy song or poem that expresses sorrow or lamentation, usually for one who has died Elegy: Plath's elegy: Reading "Daddy" as an elegy Foils: personae-father
Reversing female subjugation
Angry taunt
Vengance rather than devotion
Revisiting elegiac motifs
Reaching independence. I made a model of you
A man in black with a Meinkampf look
If I've killed one man, I've killed two 13TH AND 15TH STANZAS:
I made a model of you
If I've killed one man, I've killed two
There's a stake in your fat black heart
and the villagers never liked you.
they are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through Feminist reading The problem of female self-hood
Blurring border between private and public In particular my background is, I may say, German and Austrian. (...) so my concern with concentration camps and so on is uniquely intense. And then, I'm rather a political person as well, so I suppose that's part of what it comes from. (Aird, 79) Parody as destructive weapon Private Public Female individuality Constructed discourses Parody of her Oedipal struggle?
"Inappropiate" imaginery?
Confronting status quo Natural Commodity Domestic life Torture becomes Metaphors Jews
Claustrophobic space
Family dynamics
German language
Failed revolt 1st STANZA
You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breath or Achoo And the language obscene
An engine, an engine

Ich, ich, ich, ich
I could hardly speak CONCLUSIONS: Connection with Grotesqueness
Rich and ambiguous poetry
Socio-cultural reading ". . . every work of art is the child of its time; each period produces an art of its own, which cannot be repeated." (Kandinsky, 21). Ambivalent approach: emotions in conflict
Defing masculine canon: grief and rage
Rejecting traditional mourning Modern elegy Renewal to the genre.
Renouncing the submisive mourning THANK YOU! Socio-cultural interpretation Making present constructed stereotypes
Self-destructing consequences
Struggle to redefine female identity
Full transcript