Biographical information about Sylvia Plath’s family reveals insight on her personal life and aspects of her father’s life that can be linked to her work. Sylvia Plath’s biography starts first with her parents, particularly her father, Otto Plath. As an adolescent, Otto Plath served in the army in Germany and was described by Satterfield as having very militant qualities (23). In 1901, Otto Plath immigrated to New York looking for work because industrialization had begun in Europe (23). Otto Plath eventually settled in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts with his new wife, Aurelia. The two “shared a hardworking American optimism” as Satterfield said ...
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...t held my wrist/ Was battered on one knuckle” (1B). This can be seen as violence because in a traditional waltz, two partners lovingly dance together holding hands, not wrists. The father grasping the son’s wrist exemplifies the metaphorical hold that Otto Plath held over his son’s life. The mention of violence and the mention of Otto Plath’s physical characteristics prove that he played a part in influencing “My Papa’s Waltz.”
The decisions of Otto Roethke and the decisions of Otto Plath played obvious roles in their children’s lives. Unintentionally, the decisions of the two fathers in their early life altered the life of their children permanently and affected their poetry. The biographical information of each author and the analysis of each poem prove that this is true. Parents should carefully consider what they do so their child’s life will result positively.
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