Sylvia Plath's Poem 'Daddy'

2000 Words 8 Pages
Sylvia Plath has written many poems that reflect on the horrid Holocaust era, and many people wonder why she chose to put these references in her poems. Her father, Otto Plath, associated himself with the Nazis throughout the Holocaust time period, and she may be referring to this throughout these poems. These poems also reflect the personal struggles of her life. More specifically, Plath’s poem “Daddy” asserts the influences that her personal struggles and her use of vivid Holocaust images have on her writing. Sylvia Plath had many struggles throughout her life relating to her family, and she put these struggles in many of her poems, such as “Daddy.” Isabelle Travis, author of the article “I Have Always Been Scared of You,” discusses just …show more content…
One of those connections is in lines 33 through 35 of “Daddy” when Plath uses the images of Jews in Dachau, Auschwitz, and Belsen to demonstrate her strong connection to the Nazi treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust (291). In line 16, when Plath says, “In the German tongue, in the Polish town,” this suggests that her German origins from her father could have been a reason for the Holocaust images throughout this poem. Another reference is in line 29 where Plath states, “I thought every German was you,” making it seem as though Plath’s father’s German affiliations scared her. Also, Plath explains how scared she was of her father and his “Luftwaffe” which was a German air force (291). In line 46, Plath is saying that the swastika is God-like which illustrates that the German’s symbol is more important than God. Plath then states, in line 49, “The boot in the face…,” referring to the Nazi soldiers’ black, tall combat boots while marching (291). Plath also states, “I made a model of you/ [a] man in black with a Mein Kampf look,” referring to her father saying that he looks like Adolf Hitler, the author of the book “Mein Kampf” meaning “My Struggle” regarding to the Holocaust. She then says, “[a]nd get back, back, back to you. / I thought even the bones would do” (292). This is a reference to the Jewish victims of the Nazis during the

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