A detailed analysis of the themes, structure, characters, symbolism, imagery, irony, stylistic aspects, and autobiographical correlations of Plath’s most famous poem, “Daddy.”
The four-page student handout section, which has blanks which your pupils can fill in, is suitable as an in-class activity or for homework. It also defines difficult vocabulary words and explains allusions so that students can easily work on it in small groups with minimal teacher intervention. An Answer Key is provided on separate sheets.
Not as part of the student handout are three pages of additional for-the-teacher background notes on “Daddy,” which explain such psychological terms as Jung’s Electra complex theory that Plath herself used in discussing the poem. Also examined are the differences between the daughter, her father, and her husband in the poem and Plath, her real-life father Otto, and her husband Ted Hughes.
Finally there is appended a general discussion of Plath as a Confessional poet. Some of these comments you may wish to incorporate into your class’s discussion of “Daddy.”
Prepared by Professor William Tarvin, Ph.D., who has published many articles on literature in scholarly journals.