The brilliance of Plath’s poem assessment

poetry of Sylvia Plath: The universal made specific in “Daddy,” Morning Song,” and “The Moon and the Yew Tree”

“Every woman,” writes Sylvia Plath in her poem “Daddy,” “loves a fascist.” On a surface level, the poem seems to detail a very specific situation. The speaker of the poem is the child of a dead Nazi officer. She has tried to recreate her tormented relationship with her father, half-consciously and half-consciously, in her relationships with other men. “Then I knew what to do. / I made a model of you,” she says, speaking of dealing with her feelings about her father. She becomes intent upon selecting a “man in black with a Meinkampf look” to love in place of the father she only knew as a distant, cruel presence.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
The brilliance of Plath’s poem assessment
Just from $9/Page
Order Essay

The brilliance of Plath’s poem is that it is about a personal matter connected to a specific historical event, namely the Holocaust, but is sufficiently generalized in its depiction of women and men so every woman can identify with the speaker’s struggle for a sense of self-worth. Every woman who has invested too much in a relationship with a cruel and abusive man can see herself mirrored in the speaker’s hatred of her father: “You died before I had time,” says the speaker, vowing to kill her ‘daddy,’ and instead turning upon herself. As with all of Plath’s poems, including “Morning Song,” and “The Moon and the Yew Tree,” a strange, highly personal situation is articulated over the course of the poem, yet is given a universal resonance by the tormented, but extremely articulate feminine voice of the poet.

In “Daddy,” the father is dead, yet lives on the speaker’s obsessive ruminations about him. Even for readers with positive relationships with their parents, the idea strikes a chord — one never loses one’s parents, they live on in our current relationships. Also, for the daughter in “Daddy,” the cruel Nazi’s presence is not simply expressed in her life, but in the memories of the villages he pillaged, the memorials to the people who were killed by him, and the dark mark he had upon history. The speaker’s misery is thus connected to a larger social order of oppression of women and disenfranchised outsiders. Patriarchal and domineering men exercise their will and control over others, and this system results in death and destruction. The villagers who dance and stamp on the man after he is dead suffered, and his daughter reenacts the misery she was made to feel that she deserved by tormenting herself, ultimately trying and failing to take her own life: “At twenty I tried to die,” she says. Her father killed villagers and Jews, and made his daughter feel like she should kill herself.

Plath’s words create the impression of a real event, even if readers are not acquainted with her suicide. But despite the force of the number “twenty” and the names of the places in Poland and Germany in the poem, it is easy to see in the speaker’s life the shadow of all women who turn the abuse they have suffered at the hands of others into weapons against themselves. Instead of striking back, at first the speaker turns against her own life and future, and she must learn to have enough self-respect to be like the villagers, stamping on the “fat, black, heart” of her father.

The historicism of the poem, rather than shutting the reader out, actually makes it more universal, as it shows how racism and hatred of outsiders leads to violence and also to the internalization of the voice of the oppressor. Liberation only comes when the speaker identifies, not with her father, but with the people whom he slaughtered. “I thought every German was you. / and the language obscene,” she says, also playfully, pridefully hinting that she might be “a bit of a Jew.” Plath suggests that the negative relationships in which we find ourselves do not merely hurt us, they also have larger social ramifications, but by challenging our own conceptions of the relationship between men and women, Jews and gentiles, we can be set free.

The poem “Daddy” thus chronicles a personal misery that is shared by all of Europe, bleeding its collective wounds of guilt at the end of World War II. This sense of the personal and the impersonal becoming melded into poetry is what gives “Daddy” its power. Everyone, not just everyone with a personal, historical family connection to the Holocaust can understand the speaker. She is everywoman, and perhaps everyone who has had a self-defeating, masochistic relationship with someone in the present, because she or he is still emotionally living in the past, replaying an old childhood drama.

Plath’s complicated relationship with parenting, and her inability to fully trust or inhabit a healthy relationship is also seen in “Morning Song,” which depicts a mother rising to comfort a crying baby. Unlike the relationship of “Daddy,” the mother and child seem to have a normal bond — the mother wakes to comfort the baby, but inside the mother’s heart, a tempest is brewing. Plath’s speaker articulates what many women feel, but do not say, namely that they resent the child who now burdens them and inhibits their freedom. The mother, still suffering from postpartum depression, thinks: “I’m no more your mother/Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow / Effacement at the wind’s hand.”

The mother’s voice echoes the daughter in “The Moon and the Yew Tree:” the moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary. / Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls. / How I would like to believe in tenderness – / the face of the effigy, gentled by candles, / Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.” But there is a disconnection between the image and the real, how parents should be and how they are. Even readers with less boldness than Plath understand such longing — mothers wish to be more like the ideal, children wish to have ideal mothers.

Plath’s faith that the speaker will understand is won again and again. In “Morning Song,” she takes a common situation, the frustration of a baby’s cry, and instead of spackling over the pain with platitudes and false sentiments, she is honest. She is not sure — perhaps accurately — that the newborn child recognizes her as its mother, seeing herself as a cloud, a mirror. And the child is a being separate from herself, even though she is still “cow heavy” from childbirth. “Love set you going like a fat gold watch. / the midwife slapped your footsoles, / and your bald cry / Took its place among the elements.” But in “Morning Song,” unlike in “Daddy,” even with the mother’s irritation and sense of estrangement, there is also a sense of respect for the new life. The child is set going, like a watch, it thus has a time and a pace of growth all its own, over which its mother has no control, like the “bald and wild moon” in “The Moon and the Yew Tree.” Plath respects the integrity and separateness of parents and children — both are their own, free, unique entities. In this truth there is hope, in the form of the hard-won freedom earned by the speaker of “Daddy,” although the lack of the assumed maternal bond in “Morning Song” and “The Moon and the Yew Tree” brings pain to the mother in the first poem and to the child in the second poem.

Works Cited

Plath, Sylvia. “Daddy.” Full text available October 8, 2009 at

Plath, Sylvia. “The Moon and the Yew Tree.” Full text available October 8, 2009 at

Plath, Sylvia. “Morning Song.” Full text available October 8, 2009 at

Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment  Help Service Works

1.      Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2.      Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3.      Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4.      Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essaysmile and order essay PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!

order custom essay paper