Gaining Freedom from Male Oppression in Sylvia Plath's "Daddy"
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Plath's poem "Daddy" describes feelings of oppression from childhood and conjures up the struggle many women face in a male-dominated society. The conflict of this poem is male authority versus the right of a female to control her own life and to be free of male domination.
This poem starts out describing her struggle as one that has been unresolved because she was just a child when her father died. "Daddy, I have had to kill you. / You died before I had time / Marble-heavy, a bag full of God," (lines 6-8). She gives us the sense that she had built up her father so much in her mind after he died that the weight of these thoughts and imaginations became too heavy to carry around anymore and she finally realized that in order for her to move on in life she would have to "kill her father's" memory.
This then is seemingly the turning point in her life were she no longer feels oppressed by her father and is free of his burden on her. "So daddy, I'm finally through. / The black telephone's off at the root," (lines 68-69). She is no longer listening to the inner demons tormenting her, she wants to begin anew. However Plath's inner conflicts which began with her father ended up continuing on into her future relationships.
It then becomes her life goal to meet a man "The man" to replace the loss of her father. "I made a model of you," (line 64). A short time later Plath marries this man as a solution to her unresolved issues with her father. He is a resemblance of her memories of her father. "And a love of the rack and the screw. / And I said I do, I do." (lines 66-67). As if her memories weren't destructive enough to her emotionally she sets out on another journey of dissolution.
Plath then provides us with t...
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...man as medium of exchange with that of woman as object to produce a desperately concise picture.]
Homans also connects the poems "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus" stating that "Daddy" uses [Nazi imagery to make the same accusation about objectification brought against men as oppressors] and in "Lady Lazarus" Plath [makes the corollary accusation against the father (and the husband modeled after him) that objectification has silenced her.] Her silence comes forth in the form of successfully completing suicide in 1963. Her thoughts and feelings can no longer pervade her life.
By reading Sylvia Plath's poems, "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus" and knowing her autobiography, we can make a the conclusion that her constant victimization which began at a young age by male oppressors and a male dominated society completely controlled her life and subsequently her death.