Theory Questions: Sylvia Plath, "Daddy"
Feminist Theoretical Approach
When discussing a poem that addresses a feminist approach the first poet who comes to mind is Sylvia Plath. In her poem, "Daddy", Plath conveys that there a women who have to deal with oppressive and controlling men. The poem describes the speakers feeling of oppression as well as her battle to come to terms with the issue of this imbalance. This poem also invokes the struggle that many women have to face in a male dominated society. The main conflict in Plath's poem is male authority and control versus the right of a female to be true to herself and who she is, make her own choices and not be held down by a male domineering figure. It is clear that Plath's struggles begin with her father and then with her husband. Plath uses words such as, Luftwaffe, panzerman, and Mein Kampf, these words are used to describe her father and husband as well as all maledomination. The frequent use of the word black throughout the poem conveys a feeling of gloom and suffocation on Plath's behalf.
1) How do the descriptions of Plath's father and husband convey to the reader that Plath feels stripped of her own self?
2) How does Plath use her life to manipulate her poetry?
3) What type of words does Plath use to convey to the reader that she may have reached a resolution towards the end of her poem? Did she find resolution? Did she find freedom?
Plath, Sylvia. "Daddy." The Norton Introduction to Poetry. J. Paul Hunter, Alison Booth, and Kelly J. Mays. 9th edition. New York: Norton, 2007.467-69.