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Commentary on 'Daddy' and 'The Arrival of the Bee Box' By Sylvia Plath

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Introduction

'Daddy' and 'The Arrival of the Bee Box' By Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plath was born in 1932 to Otto Plath, a German immigrant and Aurelia Plath, an American of Austrian descent. She had a very troubled life, suffering extreme depression and emotional trauma before she committed suicide in 1963 by putting her head into a gas oven. Most of her poems reflect this distress and reveal the sorrows of her short life. The poems 'Daddy and 'The Arrival of the Bee Box' are both sad and gloomy poems which highlight many aspects of her life and perhaps reason out why she was forced to kill herself. Both the poems are directly or indirectly related to the two most important and influential men of Sylvia's life- her father, and her husband Ted Hughes, who himself was a poet. She loved both men, but both of them dominated her and gave her pain and misery which made her life unhappy. As the title suggests, the poem 'Daddy' is primarily about her father, but many references are also made to Ted Hughes. ...read more.

Middle

The word 'black' can be related to death and makes us think of the shoe like a coffin. The idea of a coffin can also be related in the other poem, 'The Arrival of the Bee Box', when Sylvia calls the bee box a midget's coffin. Sylvia's father was a zoology and bee expert, and so again we can notice how she has created a dark atmosphere with everything related to her father. On an abstract level, the 'bee box' can be thought of as Sylvia's brain and the bees as her thoughts. The idea of her thoughts being trapped inside a coffin shows how depressed and unhappy she is. The imagery of 'Daddy' is very vivid and striking. Sylvia calls her father a Nazi as she writes, "With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo. And you're neat moustache and your Aryan eye, bright blue". She compares her father to Hitler, highlighting how cruel and heartless he was. She calls herself a Jew, indicating how he used his authority to oppress her. ...read more.

Conclusion

The tone of 'The Arrival of the Bee Box' is different, as she is sort of blaming herself for what she thinks. She is agitated with herself because she cannot get rid of her negative thoughts. The last two stanzas of both the poems are very strong and demonstrate an attitude of power and authority from Sylvia. In 'daddy' the tone changes from fear to anger when Sylvia says, "Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through". One feels that she has overcome all her fears to finally stand up to her father and speak with confidence and fight back. In 'The Arrival of the Bee Box" she shows that she has power when she says, "Tomorrow I will be sweet God, I will set them free". But here she makes it a point to tell the reader that she will not misuse her authority like the way Otto Plath and Ted Hughes did. In the last line of the poem she says that the box is only temporary, showing that she will make an effort to remove those thoughts from her mind, which is a positive end to the poem. ...read more.

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