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by Sylvia Plath

Stanza 10 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 46-47

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through

  • Now that the speaker has returned to her sigh of "O You" from earlier in the poem, she also returns to the concept that her father seemed like God to her. Now he appears to her to be a swastika, the Nazi symbol that has come to be associated with evil.
  • But he's no normal swastika; he's so black that he blocks the sky. Just like when the speaker described him as a statue that stretches across the United States, when he is a swastika, he's rather extreme.

Lines 48-50

Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you

  • The speaker here says that every woman loves fascist men. Fascism is an extreme authoritarian type of government that we associate with cruel dictators. Hitler and the Nazis were fascists.
  • She then goes on to describe what women love about Fascist men: the man's "boot in the [woman's] face," a rather cruel gesture to establish dominance and power. It's not hard to imagine someone like Hitler stomping on someone's face.
  • She connects the boot in the face with "brute" hearts of "brute" men like her father. This use of internal rhyme and repetition really intensifies the accusation that her father was a cruel Fascist.
  • So the speaker has connected her father with Fascists, and with their brutality. But she's saying that women love all this cruelty and brutality.
  • Perhaps she has seen herself love a cruel man – like she claims her father is – and perhaps she's seen other women fall in love with unkind men too. She may be commenting on women allowing themselves to be dominated by men. This statement may also be more bitterly sarcastic than true. If it is meant as a statement of fact, it's criticizing women as well as the brutes they love.

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