Compare and Contrast of Sylvia Plath and Sharon Olds

Topics: Family, Sylvia Plath, Daddy Pages: 3 (898 words) Published: December 15, 2011
Sylvia Plath vs. Sharon Olds

Katherine Waldman

A traditional American household has changed throughout the years to the point where ‘traditional’ isn’t even politically correct to depict anything about a family anymore. But if we look back to the standard traditional household and there was always a father, a mother, and a 2.5 children. The father has always been designated as the head of the household and something that Sylvia Plath and Sharon Olds have in common is just that, that they grew up during a father-dominated time, in a father-dominated family, and this lifestyle is reflective in their poetry as well. “The Colossus” by Sylvia Plath is about the pain and hardships she experienced with her father’s death. Sylvia’s daddy was never around for his family and as someone whose father was always working and never had time for me either I can understand Sylvia’s feelings of unrequited love in her and her father’s relationship. In “The Colossus” the character’s efforts to rebuild the fallen Colossus of Rhodes are similar to her own personal efforts to build up the relationship she never had with her daddy. “Saturn”; the poem by Sharon Olds also deals with her father issues. This poem is emulating his alcoholism and the effect it had on his own family compared to the Roman story of the god Saturn devouring his children. Both of these poems are making mythological gods as a metaphor for the father dominating role in their families. The slight difference is that Plath’s poem is about restoring a relationship and Olds’ is the psychological damage in both life and death that her father had on her. This Colossus interpretation is not only a metaphor for Plath’s daddy but also a hypothetical replacement for him, which makes sense considering the aspects of the father-daughter relationship. A girl’s relationship with her daddy is a very important part of a childhood development. “The desire to be loved by dads is a deep emotional need,” Shari Jones...
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