Tag Archives: POETRY

Daddy – Sylvia Plath : Poetry Analysis

27 Jun

You do not do, you do not do

Any more, black shoe

In which I have lived like a foot

For thirty years, poor and white,

Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.


Daddy, I have had to kill you.

You died before I had time—

Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,

Ghastly statue with one gray toe

Big as a Frisco seal


And a head in the freakish Atlantic

Where it pours bean green over blue

In the waters off the beautiful Nauset.

I used to pray to recover you.

Ach, du.


In the German tongue, in the Polish town

Scraped flat by the roller

Of wars, wars, wars.

But the name of the town is common.

My Polack friend


Says there are a dozen or two.

So I never could tell where you

Put your foot, your root,

I never could talk to you.

The tongue stuck in my jaw.


It stuck in a barb wire snare.

Ich, ich, ich, ich,

I could hardly speak.

I thought every German was you.

And the language obscene


An engine, an engine,

Chuffing me off like a Jew.

A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.

I began to talk like a Jew.

I think I may well be a Jew.


The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna

Are not very pure or true.

With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luck

And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack

I may be a bit of a Jew.


I have always been scared of you,

With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.

And your neat mustache

And your Aryan eye, bright blue.

Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You—-


Not God but a swastika

So black no sky could squeak through.

Every woman adores a Fascist,

The boot in the face, the brute

Brute heart of a brute like you.


You stand at the blackboard, daddy,

In the picture I have of you,

A cleft in your chin instead of your foot

But no less a devil for that, no not

Any less the black man who


Bit my pretty red heart in two.

I was ten when they buried you.

At twenty I tried to die

And get back, back, back to you.

I thought even the bones would do.


But they pulled me out of the sack,

And they stuck me together with glue.

And then I knew what to do.

I made a model of you,

A man in black with a Meinkampf look


And a love of the rack and the screw.

And I said I do, I do.

So daddy, I’m finally through.

The black telephone’s off at the root,

The voices just can’t worm through.


If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two—

The vampire who said he was you

And drank my blood for a year,

Seven years, if you want to know.

Daddy, you can lie back now.


There’s a stake in your fat black heart

And the villagers never liked you.

They are dancing and stamping on you.

They always knew it was you.

Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.


 1.      Who is the speaker of this poem?

A daughter who is angry, disappointed, and sad with his father. The daughter uses figurative image of her father like a black shoe; like a statue that stretches across the United States; like God; like a Nazi; like a Swastika; and finally, like a vampire. The speaker is a woman or a daughter because on line 71 “If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two” it is related to the woman, how she is hatred with two of them. Like bullying.

2.      What is the tone of the poem?

She feels full of anger and hatred. For example, in “Daddy, I have had to kill you” it sounds like you really want to kill your one of family member. Is it normal? It is not normal, so I say she really feels disappointed with her father whereas he is a father who gives her money every day. Also, “If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two” it sounds like a big revenge of the speaker.

3.      In the first stanza how does he/she see him/herself?

“You do not do, you do not do” this repetition sounds like no happy with this stanza. The speaker tries to say to the “you” as “father” that not to beg something “You do not do, you do not do”

The speaker tells that “black shoe” is the place the speaker’s lived in.

“Any more” tells that the speaker want to go out from that place.

“Foot” describes what the speaker’s feels. The speaker is like something “not important” in father’s speaker’s life.

“Poor and white” explain that the speaker is really full of scared and threatened.

“Barely daring to breathe or Achoo” tells that the speaker won’t dare to breathe or sneeze because it can disturb the speaker’s father, meaning that the speaker feels trapped, scared, and nothing compared with this bad dream.

Whole : The speaker describes about her feeling about her father. She  won’t to stay together with his father because she is too scared to face his father. She said that he/she even won’t dare to take a breath or sneeze.

4.      How does the speaker characterize his/her father?

In line 16 to 18

In the German tongue, in the Polish town

Scraped flat by the roller

Of wars, wars, wars

The speaker describes her father’s as a German tongue where in the Polish – a town has been destroyed by war. The speaker tells that her father scared the speaker like a German has been done to the Polish. There is called colony. “Wars” to describe what happen on the speaker and her father. It’s like no good communication.

In line 24 to 28

“I never could talk to you” The speaker also laments that he/she never talk to the father.

The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare

Ich, ich, ich, ich,

I could hardly speak.

The speaker also laments that she never talk to the father because her tongue always stuck. She describes that she talks to German and feels nervous, even she never understand about the language. Finally, the speaker failed to speak fluently although she had been tried for several times. Clearly, the father has a label to be a stubborn person, even the daughter feels not comfortable to speak between them.

Lines 29-30

I thought every German was you

And the language obscene

The speaker explains that the father is Nazi –kind of people in German. They uses the bad language, and the speaker doesn’t understand about the language. The speaker has a trouble communication with her father.

Lines 43-44

And your neat mustache

And your Aryan eye, bright blue

“neat mustache” and blue “Aryan eye” describe how the father physically looks like very German, like Adolf Hitler. While “Aryan” is a term for during Nazi rise to power. And “Blue-eyed” people who were seen as “high-class” to Jews and gypsies. So, the image of the father’s speaker is really Hitler with Hitler’s mustache and idealized bright blue eyes.

Lines 45

Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You ~

Panzer-man related to the German tank drivers. Describing how scary and terrible the father’s speaker.

Lines 48-50

Every woman adores a Fascist,

The boot in the face, the brute

Brute heart of a brute like you

The speaker tells about the Fascist which is loved by women. It says that “brute” relate to Hitler. “Brute like you” You is father, so the character of the speaker’s father is brute, cruel.

5.      What kinds of emotions are revealed in this poem by the speaker? How would you know?

The kinds of emotions are a revenge, claiming that she killed both her father and the man – her husband.

Lines 71

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two ~

The speaker claim from line 6 that she killed her father. We had known that the father died before the speaker really had killed him. But, there is one man, not her father, who is killed by her. The second man is… (the clue is in the next stanza)

Line 72-74

The vampire who said he was you

And drank my blood for a year,

Seven years, if you want to know.

The indication of the second man that she modeled after her father and married. “Drinking blood” the metaphore for the speaker’s relationship with his the this man, like a marriage. “A drank my blood for a year” it sounds like to drain the speaker life away, like a vampire sucks a blood to dry. “Seven years” how the speaker feels cruel of the husband. “If you want to know” the speaker just want to emphasize and tell about a long year she had been cruel with to her father.

The underlined word model is from line 64-65 “I made a model of you, A man in black with a Meinkampft look” the speaker has a model like his father.

Line 66 : “And a love of the rack and the screw” the rack and the screw are both gruesome torture instrument. This man sounds like the epitome of devil.

6.      What do you think if the title, is it opposite? Why/why not?

Yes, I think it is opposite. Logically, Daddy is usually for a spoil child to her father. It indicates the closeness between the daughter and her father. It also shows good relationship between them. But I found from the analysis that it was so far. Almost there is no way to show about the proximity between father and his daughter. The speaker always uses bad, rude, rough word to metaphors her father at the poem, all of stanzas.

But on my opinion, it is unique title. Because the writer, Sylvia Plath, uses a contrast title to make the reader be misled. Before people read the poem, they will think “A”. After finished reading, the will think “B”. The readers will be curious about the “real message” from the poem.

7.      How do you think the relationship of the speaker and his/her father?

I think that relationship between of the speaker and hher father is not good. Because in stanza 1 the speaker open with her fear word to describe about his feeling: scared and not comfortable; like want to run away. About the speaker is never using a good figurative word to describe her father: like a black shoe that she’s had to live in; like a statue that stretches across the United States; like God; like a Nazi; like a Swastika; and finally, like a vampire.

8.      How would you explain the last line of the poem?

The last line : Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through

This line like to reach to the top. The speaker uses word not only “daddy” but also “bastard” which I think they have contrast meaning about positive and negative. Word “daddy” related to a child who is very spoil and love his father. And it has positive meaning. Whereas “bastard” is negative word.

My opinion that the speaker shows her love with “daddy” like she is beating her chest hardly. She uses “bastard” to show her effort to criticize her father – he’s Nazi, the devil, and a vampire. But in the end, he/she just wanted to show good verbal punch to call her father a bastard.


27 Jun


Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. One of the famous love poems in the English language is “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” The love that is appeared in this poem is a complex. This poem explains how does the love work while you’re in it? What kinds of love are there? How and when do they happen? How do you love someone in different ways with the contrast way? Those are the reasons why this poem is good. “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” will answer them.


The speaker

The speaker is a woman who has a very complex internal emotional landscape. She loves someone intensely and wholly, but she also has “old griefs” – things she’s bitter about and lost saints, she’s lost her faith in and feels disappointed about. She also talks about her “childhood’s faith” as though it was in the far distant past, which suggests that this is a mature and older speaker.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

  • The speaker uses “thee” which has a certain formality over it. So, it means “no gender is implied.”The speaker does not use gender makers such as him, her, she, or he which makes it possible for the poem to be read to both of gender, a man or a woman.
  • This poem starts with a rhetorical question. The speaker makes the question that’s going to control the entire poem: how does she love “thee.” The speaker wants to mention about how she loves her beloved.
  • In “Let me count the ways” : the speaker shows to count the ways she loves him at all of the poem. “Count” she would need to count them. “Count” the ways you loves someone does like “a bit, well, calculating” the speaker’s initial decision to count types of love is intriguing. I agree with a quote from shmoop.com, this poem look more interesting to read with a unique choice title of the poem. Who wants to count how you love your beloved?
  • In another link that I got from englishlanguageliterature.com says that, “The poem starts by the poet asking a rhetorical question: How do I love thee? With poet counting the ways how she loves thee instead of trying to explain how she loves thee. She does so because she can not possible explain her love, so she starts with listing some, perhaps the most passionate ways of her love towards thee.” I think the word “passionate” is suitable for showing passion the best, the strong feeling to her beloved. It is really clear that the speaker gives the “main message” in this poem is describing her strong love to her man.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

  • The speaker explains her love using a spatial metaphor. She expresses that her love extends to the “depth” “breadth” and “height” that her soul can reach. She uses a three-dimensionalto know the container of her soul.
    • Breadth is width, a measurement of how far across her love is. Height and depth represent how far down (deep) and how far up (high) her love is, in relation to her position in the universe.
    • Quote from englishlanguageliterature.com says, “Using normal measurements for something that cannot be measured. This is spatial metaphor. In this way she is trying to illustrate she loves every single piece of him that there is nothing that she would change about him.” I agree that she is really love her beloved using “depth” “breadth” and “height” for describing. How she loves her beloved in all possible directions. Explaining that there is not one direction in which she does not have the feeling of love. Something coolest keyword to describe what she will says on the next poem line.
    • This spatial love is the first of the ways of loving that speaker lists.

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

  • These measurements, though physical are also spiritual, as they pertain to her soul, which is body and spirit infused.
  • In the shmoop.com says, “As she is trying to feel the full extent of her soul, she realizes that she loves “thee” in every part of it – to the “depth and breadth and height” that it reaches”
  • In the englishlanguageliterature.com says, “This is an illustration of how much she trusts him. Even though she cannot see the ending of how this love will end, she trusts him and is willing to reach out in darkness, not knowing what’s coming for her.
  • I agree at the first link because this line poem is related with line two. This line describe clearly what she can reach ”depth and breadth and height” in her soul for her beloved. But in the second line, it looks perfect reason. But it does not relate to anything on the line of the poem.

For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

  • In the shmoop.com says, “When the speaker is trying to figure out (“feeling”) how far her soul (her “Being”) extends in the world, she realizes that her love for the beloved extends just as far (that’s all the “depth and breadth and height” stuff in line 3). I agree that her love is natural what she feels and gives to her beloved.
  • I think the word “Grace” tend to a name of the “church” we had known that “church” is holy and white. She describes that her love is very white, there is no black on her love. It relates to the “for the ends of Being” which her love is really big in three-dimensional “depth and breadth and height.”

I love thee to the level of everyday’s

  • This is a next way to love her beloved. The key is “to the level of everyday’s” This line becomes more grounded and down to earth. Even though her love is passionate “depth and breadth and height”, she also loves her beloved in regular “everyday’s” or day-to-day way.
  • Her love is on the same level as our most basic needs–air, water, food, shelter, kinship and love–that need our attention day and night.
  • In the shmoop.com explains,“even though it is not directly described, we get sense of everyday domestic living here – the reality of wanting to be with someone all the time in a low-stakes kind of way. This is a “married-and-hanging-out-watching-TV-on-the-couch-each-night” kind love, instead of a “Romeo-and-Juliet-are-going-to-die-tomorrow” kind.” It means that she wants always to the next her beloved. They get married and do everything together until they die.
  • This “everday’s” is the second way of loving that the the speaker lists.

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

  • This statement above is a continuing word from “everydays.” The shmoop.com says, “It is important, however, that this does not mean the love is any less significant. The everyday “need” for love may be “quite,” but it is definitely there.” The speaker explains that she needs him even though there is nothing special happening. She just needs for her life, her every day. Without this man, it is not the same.
  • By shmoop.com: “The speaker also completes the description of everyday love with two images of light: “by sun and candle light.” Basically, this is just a way of saying “in the day and at night.”
  • In another sources, englishlanguageliterature.com says, “the sun and candle light while talking about her love. This line is one of the only lines where she is using concrete imagery. She is using the image of light being constant and abstract saying that her love will forever and go on but with a sense of mystery. The sun is also a very well know image for being strong, powerful, and good.”
  • I think the most that the sun is something human beings cannot live without and the speaker is illustrating her love. She tries to say that she cannot live without him. She looking at him “everyday” is lighten her day. The “sun” tries to light at day and the “candle-light” providing the light at night.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;

  • “I love thee freely” it sounds like pretty good ways to love, there is no a force to love. She loves him of her own free will, and not out of obligation. This is the kind of love that is freely given without any coercion by guilt or force or the threat of force.
  • The speaker uses a metaphor “as men strive for Right.” The speaker is implying that “men strive for Right” in a “free” way. Morally, someone will choose one that be good for her or him. The speaker uses “men strive for Right” to be a choice, people try to do the right think because they think they ought to. She feels she has to do this, “freely” is something “right” for her.
  • The meaning of “freely” In the englishlanguageliterature.com is she loves him without expecting anything back. Also she is willing to fight for him.
  • “freely” is the third way of loving that the speaker lists.

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

  • “I love thee purely” has the same meaning with “I love thee freely” it is not impure. It is good way to love someone.
  • In the shmoop.com says, ”That is, her love is pure in the way that being modest and refusing everyone else’s admiration is pure.”
  • In the shmoop.com says, “Perhaps the speaker is also implying that she’s not proclaiming her love in order to be applauded by her readers. She is not seeking praise for writing a great poem about love; she loves without wanting any reward or commendation.
  • I agree I also think as shmoop.com that “purely” there is no distrust and no judgment for her love. And “Praise” is “reward”. Try to connect this, what will you get after you are being a greater writer of the poet? You will get a reward, right? So, she predicted that she did not make this poem with a praise but it came from her deep heart without exception.
  • “Purely” is the fourth way of loving that she speaker lists.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

  • In the shmoop.com says, “old grief are think of an incident in your past that you still feel really angry about. Consider the intensity of your feelings when you think about this incident – you know, the sort of thing that absolutely has you gnashing your teeth and spitting and swearing and absolutely seething with bitter fury.”
  • Old grief is something a bad event in the past. Now imagine all “passion” and intensity of bitter feeling and convert it into “love” it is like the speaker wants to say “I love you with all the energy I used to spend being bitter about stuff in my past”, as quoted shmoop.com.
  • The meaning “childhood’s faith” based on shmoop.com, that you believed in stuff when you were a kid. Your mom’s ability to fix anything you broke like Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus, and your dad’s ability to answer any question, and the way you believed that adults mostly knew they were doing and everybody followed the rules. That’s your “childhood’s faith.”
  • I think that the speaker love her beloved with “passion” or “love” although he has a bitter stuff in the past. And how she loves him? With “childhood’s faith” everything that her beloved needs her helps, she always help with a huge patient which is innocent relationship and can be naïve sometimes.
  • “old grief” is way of loving is number five, and the “childhood’s faith” way is number six.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath,

  • The speaker’s love for “thee” is she had for her childhood heroes and other people she admired. Either she has lost these people because they died, or she’s been disillusioned about them.
  • In shmoop.com says, “lost saints are not misplaced Catholic statues. Instead, they are the people you used to believe in that you do not have faith anymore. You know, heroes who let you down, whether they are famous people (Roger Clemens? Britney Spears?) or just friend or family members who you once had a really high opinion of and now, well, they seem merely human.”
  • Lost saints is talking about a faith for her love. Although she is disillusioned with her beloved, she still loves intensively. Whatever her beloved to do, she still holds a faith. She also loves him with her breath. Breath refers to “life” because we can stay alive with a breath, right?
  • “Breath” the ways number eight of loving described in the poem.

Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,

  • In shmoop.com says, “She loves him with every smile that crosses her face – her happiness is always an expression of loving him, even when she is smiling about something else.
  • But it is not just her happy moments that go into loving him; it is the sad ones, too (the “tears”) and even the regular, unemotional moments – the continuous “breath” of life. Even breathing in and out seems to be way of loving in this poem.”
  • In short, when loving her beloved, she feels everything like smile or tears, happiness or sadness. She has a nice moment with her beloved and she also has a sadness moment.
  • “Smiles” and “tears” are ways number nine and ten of loving described in the poem.

– and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

  • The shmoop.com tells, “If God lets her, she is going to love her beloved even more intensely after death. Even in death, this speaker is going to find a new way of loving.”
  • I think it is clear that the poem is hyperbole. So, she explains “afterlife” as the way loving to her beloved after she died. She even find a new style to love him,it is called immortality.
  • In another word, her love for him will not end at the grave but God willing, will continue on eternally.
  • “Afterlife” way of loving number eleven.


In short, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” explains how the speaker love her beloved. The speaker tells us many things in this poem clearly. The speaker confesses how big her love is and tells about her sincere love. One of the passage is the kind of love described in this passage almost sounds more like admiration and esteem like loving someone to the greatest “height” that your soul can go. So, we had known several reason why this poem became famous.