Study Guide

Daddy Gender

By Sylvia Plath

Gender

With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew. (lines 37-40)

These lines align gypsies with Jews – groups that were both persecuted during the Holocaust. In this poem, gypsies and Jewish people are aligned with the female speaker, and German Nazis are aligned with her father and husband. Thus, women are portrayed as victims and men are portrayed as persecutors.

Every woman adores a Fascist, (line 48)

Here, the idea that women are the victims of fascist, Nazi men, is twisted – women seem to be presented as willing victims, loving their persecutors. This quote may be sarcastic, but it raises the question of how much of women's victimization is their fault. Women, this quote implies, like to be overpowered.

not
Any less the black man who
Bit my pretty red heart in two. (lines 54-56)

This quote again shows the victimization of women. It portrays men as evil and black, and women as pretty and red.

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. (lines 64-67)

These lines set up the woman in the poem as suffering from the Electra complex, which theorizes that women seek men like their fathers. The speaker here is fulfilling the Electra complex by taking women's so-called adoration of fascists a little further by marrying one who is just like her father.

The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know (lines 72-74)

This is a disturbing portrait of marriage. The speaker's husband is a vampire who's been sucking her blood. And we thought that calling her father a devil was bad. But these lines align the two men – her father bit her red heart in two, and her husband is sucking her blood.

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