Sylvia Plant is one of the prominent figures in confessional rating, and even in death, she continues to affect millions with her writing. Among many of her works, “Daddy” is a well-known poem about a woman’s clashing feelings of fear, hatred, and love for her father. The poem is not entirely confessional as the narrator’s tone implies that she is speaking in accusation, not in confession, for the purpose of liberating Plant from her unspoken feelings while shifting power from her father to herself. From a moral perspective, “Daddy” is not confessional.
The narrator speaks unapologetically of her feelings for her father, many of which are unethical. Initially, the content of “Daddy” makes the reader contend that she has no reason to feel guilt since her father was loathsome, but much of what she says is cruel and immoral. The reader sees this when she admits to wanting to kill her father and shows remorse only for the fact that she could not have done it soon enough: “l have had to kill you / You died before I had time. ” Then she insults her deceased father, comparing his swollen, infected toe to a “Fresco seal” in reference to his untreated diabetes.
As the poem proceeds, she continues to speak harshly to her father, accusing him of being a Nazi, a Fascist, the Devil, a vampire, and once, Hitler. Her lack of remorse removes the poem from being a confession, in a moral standpoint, since she believes her thoughts are not sinful and goes as far as to say that killing her father, the village vampire, was a Joy to everyone. Upon closer inspection, the poem is partially confessional as it seems that the narrator reveals her darkest secrets clearly and willingly without hesitation, which is implemented by the way Plant creates an extremely detailed picture of what she feels through imagery.
For example, when the narrator expressed her difficulty speaking to her father, she says, “The tongue stuck in my Jaw. ” Immediately afterwards, she draws an explicit image to represent her mental incapacity as a physical one and she stutters, “It stuck like a barb wire snare / ICC, ICC, ICC, ICC / I could hardly speak,” making the reader compare her desperate attempt at speaking to a painful and gruesome one of escaping the sharp confines of barbed wire.
She does this again when she presents an object that was pieced together clumsily by some unknown “they,” symbolizing her broken mental state after her failed suicide attempt: “they pulled me out of the sack / And they stuck me together with glue. ” She utilizes imagery, repetition, and rhythm to paint a clear image without leaving any doubt to what she means as well as to compel the reader to experience her emotions. This leads to the impression of her straightforwardness and unrestrained tone, making the poem partly confessional.
The purpose of Plant writing “Daddy” was that she wanted to establish power over her rumored authoritarian father. Even as the narrator, presumably Plant, insults her father, she talks to him affectionately. She speaks to him like he is her god, and throughout the poem, she calls him “Daddy’ and says “Oh, you” or “Ach, du” (German for “Oh, you”), which are endearing terms. This implies that he holds control over her emotions, and with that comes power over her as a person. The way she imagines him also suggests his position of power: her God, a Nazi, Hitler, a Fascist, a tank, a devil, the Luftwaffe, all of which are considered powerful.
In the end of “Daddy,” Plant concludes with the death of the father in her mind, which the “villagers” celebrate. Plant shows that she can speak about him in any way she likes and that he can see him in any way that she wants to, proving that she has the ability to control the image of her father as well as taking away her father’s power by broadcasting his wrongdoings and her concealed feelings for him. In addition, instead of only gaining power over her father, she also regains power over herself, freeing herself from the thoughts that have always been haunting her.
In the beginning, she writes, Mimi do not do, you do not do / Any more,” which is written in the present tense, referring to the fact that he can no longer hold power over her due o his being dead in reality and in her mind. As she builds toward the end, she states “I’m finally through,” and repeats it once again in the last line, “I’m through. ” This repetition creates the impression of finality-?that she has finally overcome the internal conflict that has been destroying her by transforming her father from her god to a Nazi, a vampire, a devil, whom society despises and whom she hates. Daddy’ may not have been entirely confessional in the literary world, but it contains characteristics of the genre. Even though Plant confesses her deepest secrets to the public, she manipulates her audience, captivating readers with her vivid imagery, lyrical poetry, and contrasting illustrations of “daddy. ” Through publishing this poem, she reclaims power over herself and enforces power over her father. Shortly before her suicide, Plant stated that this poem was not about her and told BBC radio that the poem was about “a girl with an Electra complex [whose] father died while she thought he was God.
Her case is complicated by the fact that her father was also a Nazi and her mother very possibly part Jewish. In the daughter the two strains marry ND paralyze each other – she has to act out the awful little allegory once over before she is free of it” (“Daddy (poem)”). Whether the narrator was Plant or not, the poem seems to be her way of liberating herself by admitting to having these feelings, or ones similar to the narrator’s, which has only belonged in her head previously. It was her way of reminding herself of the feelings she once had, or the ones that she still has and that she has already struggled to conquer them. Daddy’ was Plash’s final gesture: concluding her life with her art and resolving her feelings through the finalized idea and act of dying. Works Cited “Daddy (poem). ” Wisped. Wakefield Foundation, 30 Mar. 2014. Web. 12 Par. 2014. The Editors of UnicycleГdid Britannica. “Confession (literature). ” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n. D. Web. 12 Par. 2014. Plant, Sylvia. “Daddy. ” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n. D. Web. 8 Par. 2014. Working Bibliography “The Act of Confession in Literature. ” Serendipity Studio.
Serendipity, 15 May 2009. Web. 12 Par. 2014. Unintelligibility]etc, an anonymous flogger on Serendipity Studio who posts research papers presumably for an Evolution and Literature university/ allege course, discusses the purpose of confession in Western literature in this POS He cites works of varying genres, such as Peter Brooks’ Troubling Confessions, Char Darning’s On the Origin of Species, etc. To support his claims. His intended audience his professor, but this could extend to anyone who is searching for a scholarly view on the role of confessions in literature.
His main purpose is probably to create a persuading argument in order to receive a high grade in the course, but he also Trier to show his audience that authors manipulate their audience through confessions, ring to convince the readers of their “sincerity,” even in the scientific field. “Confessional Poet. ” Wisped. Wakefield Foundation, 27 Mar. 2014. Web. 12 Par. 2014. “Daddy (poem). ” Wisped. Wakefield Foundation, 30 Mar. 2014. Web. 12 Par. 2014. The Editors of UnicycleГdid Britannica. “Confession (literature). Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n. D. Web. 12 Par. 2014. Ropier, Katie. “We’ve Misread Sylvia Plash’s Famous Poem “Daddy. ” It’s Really About Her Mother. ” Slate Magazine. The Slate Group LLC, 11 Feb.. 2013. Web. 14 Par. 2014. Katie Ropier a professor at Ninny’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and the author of Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Marriages, The Morning After: Fear, Sex, and Feminism, and more, argues that the father in “Daddy’ by Sylvia Plant was not actually her father, but her mother.
Ropier published this analytical article on Slate Magazine, a web-based magazine focused on politics, news, business, technology, and culture. She analyzes and mentions several of Plash’s writing that include her mother. Ropier tries to change her audience’s opinion, the Slate community as well s those who are interested in Sylvia Plant and/or the meaning and purpose of “Daddy,” that has only assumed that the figure in the poem was her father based on Plash’s exact words and not on the underlying meaning/message due to the instinctual thought of men as the oppressor and women as the oppressed.