AP English Juniors
13 January 2010
Analysis and Questions for the poem Daddy
1. Discuss the poet’s use of apostrophe in its direct address to the father figure. How does Plath stage that address as a kind of declaration of independence in the decisive tone with which she at once judges and dismisses the father? The poem Daddy, written by Sylvia Plath, is a text which reveals to the reader, the nature of the persona's relationship with her father as well as the impact that her father's death had on her. Being a confessional poem, the reader can assume that it is about Plath herself. The purpose of this poem is so that Plath can purge herself of her emotions as she feels abandoned by her father after his death. The very title gives away the fact that Plath's emotional growth has been stunted and that she feels like an abandoned child. Throughout the poem, Plath uses many stylistic devices. She is successful in creating a tone of hatred, disgust, and finality. Relationships with men were not her strong point by any means, and Plath's negative attitude towards men is clear. One of her stylistic devices is the use of apostrophe. An apostrophe in a poem is a group of words that are spoken to a person who is absent or imaginary, or to an object or abstract idea. In the poem, the speaker's use of apostrophe illustrates an attitude of power. Apostrophe is the next best thing to talking directly to the father, which is impossible, as he is dead. The speaker has conquered her fears, she was able to kill the father inside of her, and an ultimate demonstration of power is the ability to address someone directly, without having to hide behind the cloak of a method other than the second person. In the last lines, the apostrophe gives more power to the poem. "Daddy, daddy, you bastard," has more effect on the audience than, "Daddy was a bastard." 2. Consider how the poet’s sing-song rhyme pattern of the opening stanza darkly...