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Topic: Two Sylvia Plath Poems 


There is quite a difference between reading and watching/hearing Ms. Plath read her poem “Daddy.”  When reading the poem, it is unknown which words and syllables should be emphasized, where the dramatic pauses should be, and how the stanzas should flow together.  It also allows us to hear the inflection in her voice, how she raises and lowers her volume, and also hearing her voice quiver gives an added sense of the emotion.   Fortunately there are recordings of Ms. Plath recite her poem, and we are able to hear how it should be presented from the original author.

I feel that the poem “Mirror” does work with the mirror itself as the poem’s narrator.  The mirror is personified throughout the poem, and describes what it feels, thinks, and sees, just as a person would in a story told from the first person point of view.

I enjoyed both of these poems by Sylvia Plath, and don’t think I liked one more than the other.  For “Daddy”, I enjoyed the World War II references because I find history interesting.  Also, with Sylvia being a first generation American having German and Austrian ancestry, it was intriguing how she referenced herself as a Jew and referred to the German language as obscene.  For “Mirror”, I liked how she personified the mirror and how straightforward it is, “Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful.”   

Sylvia mentioned that the narrator in “Daddy” has an Electra complex, so based on that piece of information I would say that she loves him.  Obviously there is conflict in these feelings given the rage for her father she expresses.  Although she does love him, there is an immense amount of hate for him as well.  The narrator states, “Daddy, I have had to kill you” and “I have always been scared of you.”  This could be because of his ties and allegiance to Hitler and his role in the Reich. 

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