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Word Count: 1,380
Bit of a Jew Holocaustic Images in the works of Sylvia Plath While reading Sylvia Plaths poems Daddy and Lady Lazarus one cannot help but be struck down by the prominent visual images and deeply emotional reflections both poems force upon the reader While stylistically different connecting these two poems is the inclusion of references to the Holocaust What is interesting is that Plath never lived through the horrors of the Holocaust and was actually not even Jewish yet she states that she is in these poems While not wholly influenced by her education in Plaths academic life the Holocaust seems to have been a constant topic in both high school and university One of her classmates recalls how Plaths history teacher at Wellesley High School confronted his class Weary of our affluent teenaged complacency he had photographic blow-ups made of the inmates of Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald Dachau and Auschwitz These tragic skeletal inmates looking out from their packed bunk beds in their ragged striped pyjamas stared down upon our crisply shampooed heads giving us the shudders Strangeways 371 Her teacher used the images of the Holocaust in a similar way that Plath would later in her poetryto shock steal innocence away and to make her peanut-crunching crowd Lazarus 26 shudder While at Smith College Plaths study of Nazism permeated many courses she took as her professors tried to relate Nazism with the American thrust towards individualism at the time Strangeways 371 Plath uses the horrible atrocity as a metaphor and a powerful tool in articulating her feelings about certain events in her life most notably her relationship with her father and her attempts at suicide Her poem Daddy uses images of the Holocaust to successfully express her feelings towards her father Contrasting where the poem ends up Daddy begins with a child like tone nursery rhyme in nature even using baby talk such as the word Achoo Daddy 5 and
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