Sylvia Plath's poems Analytical Essay by jes

Sylvia Plath's poems
Discusses tone in Sylvia Plath's poems "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus".
# 30088 | 1,608 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2003 | US
Published on Aug 23, 2003 in Literature (American) , Literature (Poetry) , English (Analysis)

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Confessional poets often write about their own personal experiences, without filtering painful emotions. One of the 1960s most influential confessional poets, Sylvia Plath, used the anger and grief that stemmed from her father's death when she was only eight as the subject of many poems. This paper discusses tone in two of the most well-known Plath poems, "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus," in which she tackles her depression in very different ways. It shows how Plath's word choice in both poems creates two opposing tones on similar subject matter. In "Daddy," Plath is clearly filled with bitterness and rage, but she is almost playful and sarcastic in "Lady Lazarus." The paper shows, too, how Plath channels her own personal world of suicidal escape in both poems, but she clearly changes tone in each by selecting words with specific meanings. Biographical information on Plath is also included.

From the Paper:

"Plath conveys this instability in her poem "Daddy." Written in 1962, twenty-two years after her father's death and just one year before her suicide, "Daddy" is not only an obvious cry for help but also a stream of unabashed rage toward the father who left her, the husband who betrayed her, and the circumstances that ultimately left her alone. Plath chooses words like "Aryan eye," "swastika," "Fascist," and "devil" to associate with her father ("Daddy" 44, 46, 48, 54). All of these words conjure feelings of hatred and liken the father in the poem to someone like Adolf Hitler, a historical figure whose name is almost synonymous with oppression. This comparison is even more evident when Plath describes her father's Hitleresque "neat mustache" and "bright blue" eyes ("Daddy" 43-44). Plath, as the speaker in "Daddy," calls herself a Jew and speaks from the perspective of an innocent who has been wrongly persecuted ("Daddy" 40)."

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