Analysis Of Her Father In Sylvia Plath

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The narrator both exhibits a love for her father and resentment towards him in this poem, and through her conflicting statements the integrity of the speaker’s claims come into question.

One of the most striking things about this poem is the continuous metaphor Plath uses comparing the speaker’s father to a Nazi and the speaker to a Jew. This simile conveys to the reader the degree to which the narrator has suffered at the hands of her father. The narrator indicates that she is not actually Jewish in her use of simile here: she states that she is “like a Jew” (34), which implies that the speaker is distancing herself from actual Jews. However, the speaker says she “may well be a Jew” (35) because her father’s words served as “an engine Chuffing [her] off like a Jew [...] to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen” (33). In choosing to describe her relationship with her father as analogous to the holocaust- one of the most horrific, cruel, and inhumane events in human history- the narrator conveys the feeling of being tortured by her father. The narrator paints herself as a helpless victim by saying that she related to people on trains to concentration camps. Although this is a gross exaggeration of the speaker’s circumstances, her use of this metaphor shows the undeniably intense pain the speaker experienced at the hands of her father.

In addition to the animosity the speaker clearly has towards her father, another component contributing to this disdain is fear of her father. In the
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