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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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I'm no Plath scholar, but reading "Daddy" makes me sympathetic rather than otherwise to Otto Plath. Anyone who writes a book called Bumblebees and Their Ways can't be all bad - but also, Sylvia Plath equating her bad relationship with her father (who was far from being a Nazi) with the experience of a Holocaust victim being taken to the death camp seems pretty grotesque. Is it meant to be? Is that part of the point of the poem, that its voice is overblown, damaged, out of control, narcissistic - childish indeed? Perhaps, but it seems to be taken at face value in many readings, and the possibility that Otto Plath might not deserve his immortalization as the equivalent of Hitler gets little consideration.

As I say, I'm no Plath scholar: it's entirely possible that these points are now orthodox.

Although don't you think that separating those two things out as though they are in opposition is also a bit of patriarchal thinking?

I do. I was referring to the rhetorical framing of Frost's poem, not necessarily accepting it.

All the same, on reflection I think I was wrong to make the sharp distinction I did in the following sentence between the kinds of poem men and women are allowed to write (i.e. the generic and rhetorical schemata that are deemed appropriate to them) and the ways they are read - as if readers weren't also working within those same generic/rhetorical schemata. Your point about "Every woman loves a fascist" brings that out well. Do we read that sentence as a proposition that can be taken out of its immediate context and considered in terms of its general applicability, or as a symptom of the speaker's individual state of mind? Are we more likely to do the latter given that the speaker is a woman? (I suspect the answer is yes.)