Sylvia Plath pp 119-132 | Cite as

Getting Rid of Daddy

  • Linda Wagner-Martin
Part of the Literary Lives book series (LL)

Abstract

The triumphant woman is, of course, also the murderer of the “Daddy” persona, whoever (or how many whoevers) that figure is interpreted to represent. In her creation of her widely based poetic mythology, Plath anthropomorphized the powerful white male who has lied to her, betrayed her, spent her money, and/or abandoned her — all the while expecting her to perform the household tasks, however menial; a variety of sexual services; and the bearing of, and caring for, his children. She did not have to use her imagination to create this persona. As she wrote to her beloved college roommate Marty a month before her suicide,

I have been so utterly flattened by having to be a businesswoman, farmer — harvesting seventy apple trees, stringing all my onions, digging and scrubbing all my potatoes, extracting and bottling my honey, etc. — mother, writer and all-round desperado that I’d give anything [to be alone]. I feel like a very efficient tool or weapon, used and in demand from moment to moment by the babes… Since he’s [Hughes] never paid a bill or figured income tax or mowed the lawn, etc., he’s no notion of what it takes…1

Keywords

Burning Fatigue Amid Income Tuberculosis 

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Copyright information

© Linda Wagner-Martin 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Wagner-Martin
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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