- You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
- In the picture I have of you,
- A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
- But no less a devil for that, no not
- Any less the black man who
- Bit my pretty red heart in two.
- I was ten when they buried you.
- At twenty I tried to die
- And get back, back, back to you.
- I thought even the bones would do.
- But they pulled me out of the sack,
- And they stuck me together with glue.
- And then I knew what to do.
- I made a model of you,
- A man in black with a Meinkampf look
- And a love of the rack and the screw.
- And I said I do, I do.
- So daddy, I'm finally through.
- The black telephone's off at the root,
- The voices just can't worm through.
- If I've killed one man, I've killed two--
- The vampire who said he was you
- And drank my blood for a year,
- Seven years if you want to know.
- Daddy, you can lie back now.
- There's a stake in your fat black heart
- And the villagers never liked you.
- They are dancing and stamping on you.
- They always knew it was you.
- Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.
- --Sylvia Plath, 1965
Pathos: Pathos is the use of language, examples,
diction, or images to create an emotional reaction in the
reader. The most common types are anger at a social injustice,
sympathy for another's misfortune, or laughter at an unusual
- How does Plath create pathos in the poem?
- What emotions result?
- What diction creates that effect?
- How would you characterize the speaker? What persona does
she don when she talks?
- Is there an implied argument in the poem?
- Can you list unusual images that Plath juxtaposes within
the poem? Why do you think she chose them?
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a PDF version of these lines from the poem.