"Daddy"by Sylvia Plath is perhaps one of her best all-time known poems whichhas been upheld and perceived to be the most favorite examples ofconfessional poetry by scholars. It has elicited diverse distinctreactions ranging from its widespread use of Holocaust imagery tofeminist praise because of its unadulterated fury regarding maledominance. Whereas “To the Boys Who May One Day Date My Daughter”by Jesse Parent is fundamentally a satirical poet performance inwhich a parent who is a dad hilariously but in a disturbing mannergoes into detail to demonstrate the violence he will resort toagainst the boys who will one day be interested in dating her teenagedaughter. In the spoken poem ‘’To the boys who may one day datemy daughter’’ by Jesse Parent and the published poem ‘’Daddy’’by Sylvia Plath, although both poems emphasize the strongrelationship between father and daughter and they both use voice inthe poems, Parent expresses more about how much a father cares andloves his daughter while Plath focuses more about how she trapped byher father’s death. Parent conveys the message of the poem to theaudience’s mind more directly through his use of imagery and hisvoice is more significant, whereas Plath mainly relies on metaphorand her voice is much more insignificant, which makes it harder forthe audience to get the embedded message.
Tobegin with, a dissimilarity between two poems is seen through the useof imagery and metaphor. Parent uses imagery whereas Plath usesmetaphor to emphasize on the message that both poems are trying toput across. In Parent’s poem, imagery is used to paint particularpictures on what the speaker will do to the boys who may one day beinterested in dating her daughter and convey it more directly. Toillustrate, he imagines that he has been waiting for the boy for awhile and he will do the bad things to him if he will hurt hisdaughter:
Iwas so perfecting my headshots. You can’t catch up at this point.
Andwhen you first meet my daughter and fall in love with the look shesends over
hershoulder, her crescent moon eyes framing her laughing
smile,you are going to want to talk to her
Andwhen those hours pass by like sprinters during that first timelessconversation
Youwill also know, with a deep and impending sense or dread,
Thatyou are going to have to talk to me (7-35).
Theabove lines show the father`s imagination that one day there is a boywho will one day meet her daughter and he will fall in love with herbecause of her beauty. He is so worried and he wants to protect hisdaughter that he will talk to the boy when the boy tries to approachhis daughter. The use of imagery in these lines collectively impliesthat the father cherishes and loves her daughter so much and hencethe reason as to why he is being so cautious and protective. Further,the use of imagery in the poem is seen when the father imagines thatthe boy may not treat her daughter very well and he will definitelyget revenge to the boy:
Ihave taught her that a man should never hit a woman.
Now,her mother would add that you really shouldn’t ever hit anybody,
ButI have taught her that a man should never hit a woman!
Considermy genes a mark of Cain, you will suffer seven times whatever you do
toher, and she will not keep your secret,
youcan’t make fire feel afraid. (1:46-2:05)
Nevertheless,he is ready and well prepared to face the boy who will someday datehis daughter. Through the use of imagery, the images of this poemeasily and directly allows the audiences to empathize and also relateto his message that how much he loves and treasures his daughter.
Onthe other hand, Plath uses metaphor to emphasize the strongrelationship that existed between her and her father. Further, theuse of metaphor as a poetic element shows how she is trapped by herfather’s memories throughout the poem, For instance, she uses somenegative terms to graphically describe the relationship between herand her father:
“Youdo not do, you do not do” (1)
“Anymore black shoe” (2).
“Inwhich I have lived like a foot “(3).
“Forthirty years, poor and white” (4).
“Barelydaring to breathe or Achoo” (5)
Inthe above lines, the speaker compares her father to a shoe in whichshe has lived for thirty years. In fact, the speaker’s father diedwhen she was in her tenth, it does not make sense that she lives withhis father for thirty years.
Equallyimportant, the similarity in the two poems is seen through the use ofvoice to pass their message. In Plath’s poem, the speaker uses adiscordant voice when she expresses her feelings of thefather-daughter relationship:
“Thevampire who said he was you” (72).
“Anddrank my blood for a year” (73).
“Sevenyears, if you want to know” (74).
Asa daughter, she feels like a victim whereas her father is a vampire,who is drinking her blood. This stanza shows that she exposes herhurt and anger toward her father throughout her bitter and discordantvoice. On the same note, the bitterness in the speaker’s voice isfurther seen when she describes her father’s death. To illustrate:
Bitmy pretty red heart in two.
Iwas ten when they buried you.
Attwenty I tried to die
Andget back, back, back to you. (55-59)
Thisclearly emphasizes the oppressive father-daughter relationship. Thisstanza emphasizes how the speaker feels miserable and hopeless in herlife due to her father’s death. She even tries to commit suicide.She feels depressed because her father died when she was just tenyears-old.
Notably,Parents’ voice is threatening with a defensive tone at first but itshifts and he starts pleading. “I have been teaching her love allher life, / and all I ask is that you continue the lesson. / Loveher. / Befriend her. / Protect her / —be there when I can’t, andwhen my body gives up to the grave, / Let the grin that eternitycarves into my face be a reflection of the peace that your lovebrings to her, / And we should get along just fine.” (34 – 40)
Thisshows how he wants her daughter to be loved by the man who will datehis daughter. Equally important, the poem is more appealing to theaudience since it is a spoken. The audiences can hear the change ofthe speaker’s tone directly thus making it much easier for theaudience to understand the message.
Summingup, “To the boys who may one day date my daughter’’ and‘’Daddy’’, the two poems use voice to convey the strongrelationship between father and daughter. However, Parent’s poemfocuses how the father protects his daughter whereas Plath’s poemexpresses how the daughter blames on her father. Two poems havedifferent ideas father and daughter relationship and convey them indiverse ways as seen through their voices and the use of differentpoetic elements. It is so sad that Plath’s father died so early,something that really influenced her life. In fact, father’s lovehas no boundaries. All fathers love their daughters so much and theydo not want anyone to hurt them. That’s why they will always beprotective against anyone who may both directly or indirectly upsetand offend them. This is evident Parent`s poem conveys the messagethat reveals how the father loves and protects his daughter and it ismore appealing to the audience through the use of imagery.
Theuse of imagery makes the audiences feel engaged that it is mucheasier for them to feel the love of the father in the poem. However,Plath uses metaphor to emphasize how she is influenced by herfather’s death. The use of metaphor makes it harder for theaudience to understand the message immediately compared to the firstpoem. The audiences need to read the poem a few times and thinkdeeply to get the embedded message. Lastly. It is true that father isalways the one who stick by your side no matter what, no matter howold you are, no matter how far you are, you are still his littlegirl.