The Comparison and Contrast of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath

1654 words 7 pages
LaStacia Bradley
Instructor McBride
English 1023
June 29th, 2012
The Comparison and Contrast of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath The two poems, “And One for My Dame” by Anne Sexton and “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath, both explore similar themes through the use of literary elements such as structure, tone and symbolism. Structures in each poem are alike with length but differ with the actual form. The tone Plath conveys is negative one while Sexton’s is more neutral. The symbolism in “Daddy” was also negative with symbols of the devil but Sexton used a nursery rhyme as a symbol. The connotations of these elements reflect the image the daughters had of their fathers but also the relationships. These poems also both deal with the theme of
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Plath possibly meant that she feels inferior to her father or that he ridiculed her and was seen as superior. In lines 51-54 it reads “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” (51-54). The picture Plath has of her father shows him as he was probably remembered by most- the professor. But when she sees the picture all she can think of is how he was a devil regardless of the cleft being in his chin rather than his foot, which alludes to a devil having hooves and a split (or cleft) in between. The allusions of these topics are known to be scary or very much unpleasant and she symbolizes this to the nature of their relationship. Sexton, different from Plath, makes the symbols of her poem less obvious. The symbols she uses are the heart and the nursery rhyme “Baa Baa Black Sheep”. There are repeated instances where Sexton alludes to the heart, or conditions of the heart that symbolize the cause of death of her father. The reader learns that “he died on the road,/ his heart pushed from neck to back” and can infer that he was away on business while he had some heart failure or issue that caused the death (34-35). She also describes the routes of his maps as “small veins” and with the connection of what he ate “Yorkshire pudding and the beef” or “butter” it can be possible that she was alluding

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