Study Guide

Daddy The Supernatural

By Sylvia Plath

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The Supernatural

Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic (lines 8-11)

These lines start us off with something pretty supernatural: a bag of God/statue that stretches across the entire United States. This image is pretty creepy. Just try to imagine a huge, Godly, ghastly statue stretched across the country. These lines set the tone of the entire poem – it's not bound by the limits of reality.

With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack (lines 38-39)

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. (lines 53-56)

Now we start getting into the meaty, more sinister parts of the supernatural in this poem, starring the most supernatural of the supernatural – the devil. This devil man has bitten our speaker's heart in two. But worst of all, this creepy, devilish man is our speaker's father.

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. (lines 57-62)

Despite her father being evil, the speaker still seems to miss him. But she doesn't say so in plain terms. She misses her supernatural father in supernatural ways – he's dead, so she figures the way to be with him is to become dead herself. Death and suicide are things that happen in the real world, but becoming dead so you can communicate with another dead person – that's supernatural. To top it off, her suicide attempt doesn't work, because her rescuers stuck her together with glue, which sounds kind of like Dr. Frankenstein's monster.

The black telephone's off at the root,
The voices just can't worm through. (lines 69-70)

Now we get into the details of talking to the dead. But, surprisingly, the way to communicate with the dead is not overly supernatural, at least on the surface. It's just a telephone – but one that can connect our speaker to her dead father.

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. (lines 72-79)

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