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

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‘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. ‘The Arrival of the Bee Box’ is more about herself, but in spite of that the reader has to know the nature of these two men to understand the poem completely and derive a meaning from it. ‘Daddy’ highlights the relationship of Sylvia and her father. Sylvia’s father died when she was just ten. This was the time when she adored her father and his death meant a lot to her. But the poem shows the immense hatred she has towards him as she gradually realized how he oppressed her and dominated her life. To use the word ‘daddy’ as the title of the poem is in a way ironical because although the poem is about Sylvia’s father, the word doesn’t fit in particularly well, as it is usually used in a positive way, not in a pessimistic and dark way. The poem has a lot of imagery, metaphors and similes which illustrates Sylvia’s anger towards her father and husband and gives the poem a dark tone.

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In the poem Sylvia has compared her father to a ‘black shoe’ while has called herself a foot living in it for thirty years. Usually a shoe’s job is to protect or comfort the foot, not to make it feel trapped and helpless. Her father was so authoritarian, that he made Sylvia feel just that. Although her father died when she was ten, she says that she lived like the foot for thirty years, “barely daring to breathe or achoo”. This shows that her father’s nature haunted her even after he died, as it left such a profound and ...

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