Famous for her life and death, Sylvia
Plath's poems are often autobiographical, and she often writes herself
into them. Her father was a German entomologist whose specialty was the
honey bee. He died of diabetes, and Plath never forgave him. She later
moved to England, where she married Ted Hughes, who later became poet laureate
until he died recently. Hughes never commented on his marriage to Plath.
The daddy poem is in reference to Ted calling him a "vampire who sucked
her blood for seven years." Plath tried to committ suicide occasionally,
and she finally succeeded at the age of 32. She did this by turning on
the gas, and suffocating herself. Plath's children were upstairs, and she
was fortunate thet friends came over before the gas found a spark, or they
would have died also.
Plath was suffering from extreme depression when she wrote this. Even at the age of thirty, Plath had still not gotten over her anger caused by the death of her father. According to Ross, anger is a part of the grieving process: first denial, then shock, anger, and arguing, and finally, depression and acceptance. Both the emotions and the progress made trying to overcome these emotions are natural.. Plath is stuck in anger. This anger has a way of working itself in her life.
You do not do, you do not do
Anymore, black shoe
in which I have lived like a foot
for 30 years poor and white
barely daring to breath or achoo
This stanza is a series of similes. Plath first compares herself to a foot in a shoe which symbolizes her father's death. Black was the Nazi's favorite color. Plath has lived like a foot in a shoe, hardly able to live and breath. Daddy came home and rested on the couch, and the children had to be quiet.
Daddy, I have had to kill you
you died before I had time
marble heavy, a bag full of God
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
big as a frisco seal
Her father died before Plath had a chance to kill him. He was a bag full of God with a swollen little toe. He is a statue. The toe is in California, and the head is in the Atlantic. The statue covers the whole country. Plath never could speak the German tongue of her father. They have a special gap between them, a cultural gap, in addition to the normal generational gap. Plath thought that the German language was obscene.
These are the death camps. Plath now sees herself as a Jew, and her father as a train taking her to these death camps. Her father died in the middle of World War II; therefore, the two are intertwined in her mind. Plath's father was not Nazi, but she thinks of him as one. Plath claims that the Germans are not as pure as they think.An engine. An engine
chuffing me off like a Jew
A Jew to Dachau, Auswitz, Belsen
Plath is s gypsy who Germans also sent to the death camps.With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luck
and my taroc pack and my tarac pack
I may be a bit of a Jew
Panzers were tanks that the Germans used to conquer Poland. Blitzkrieg was introduced here. Blitzkrieg means "lightnening war." The Polish went out to meet the Germans with horses. The glorious 19th century army was slaughtered by the tanks. There was no concept of the fact that World War II was not the same as World War I. This is when modern warfare was introduced.
Plath says that women like the rough guys.Every woman adores a fascist
The boot in the face, the brute
the brute heart of a brute like you
This stanza indicates a goat or devil. The cleft chin says that he is handsome.A cleft in your chin instead of our foot
but no less a devil for that
This is in reference to her marriage to Ted Hughes.And I said I do, I do
The vampire who said he was you
and drank my blood for a year
This poem is about Plath's attempts to kill herself. She again compares herself to the Germans' victims. "Nazi lampshades" is a reference to the lampshades, gloves, etc., that Nazi's made from human skin. Plath says that she has nine lives. "They picked the worms off her," means that Plath came close to death on her first attempt at suicide.