“Fiesta 1980” and “Daddy”

October 3, 2017 General Studies

“Fiesta 1980” and “Daddy” Both poems are about memories of the relationship with their father. However, the experiences are very different. The children presented in “Fiesta 1980” by Junot Diaz and “Daddy” by Silvia Plath suffers an internal struggle because of their fathers. In “Fiesta 1980” there is a chance to improve the relationship where as in “Daddy” there is no hope because the father is dead. In “Fiesta 1980” we can tell the story is told in the first person by and adolescent Latino boy.

The story is mainly about the struggles of an immigrant family as they wake up from a nightmare in Santo Domingo only to find themselves in another nightmare, except this time it’s in America. Yunior’s dad is abusive and is pretty much a typical macho man. However the idea that the narrator creates from the story is a boy being starved by his father, not only of food but also of sympathy. The mother’s inability to defy the father without suffering the consequences and his brother’s not being able to protect him either.

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The poem “Daddy” can be considered to be confessional. Plath attacks both her husband and her father symbolically. She relates herself to a Jew and relates her father to Hitler. This image shows that their relationship is distant and she is afraid of him, she is confined and helpless to his domination. Later on, Plath introduces her husband;” A man in black who is a “model” of her dad and will torture her free will as well and so he did for seven years, as stated in the poem which is relevant to how long their marriage lasted.

Plath also searches for the father she never grew up with; he had died when she was eight. It almost seems as she wants to hate him, more than she did so it is easier for her to say goodbye to his memory. In “Fiesta 1980” the quotes that I thought interesting is when at one point in the story, Yunior says that even though his father is cruel, “I still wanted him to love me”. Yunior, though he cannot ride in the van without vomiting, perhaps because of the smell of the upholstery, or because he will take any attention he can get from his father.

When the father takes Yunior on short trips in the van, so Yunior can practice not vomiting, Yunior enjoys the time alone with his dad and feel loved. It is interesting how Junior only experiences carsickness in the lime green van his father drives. He notes that he “never had trouble with cars before that van was like my curse”. I can assume that since Junior first met his father’s mistress during a trip in the van, which leads me to believe that Yunior associates the vehicle with the crushing emotional distress of learning of his father’s infidelity.

I feel the poem “Daddy” is a work of rage and powerlessness of her hate towards her father’s death and then how she tried to control this rage by creating a new father in her husband. Her husband is seen in two metaphors, a Nazi and a vampire. The vampire “drank her blood”, which shows his possessiveness over her. Which correlates once more to how her husband is a model of her father: they both confined her. The metaphor of Nazis brings an understanding of her personal pain and suppression.

In my opinion of the two works the one that seem to deal with the theme in a more constructive, realistic, or positive way is “Fiesta 1980”. Parts of this story are funny, but mostly there is a sense of real tension between the mother and her sons. However later in the story even this relationship is a source of conflict as Yunior and Rafa must conceal their father’s indiscretions. I would argue that the brothers have a strong bond, even though they pick on each other. They also rely on each other for comfort and support. In conclusion both stories were very interesting and realistic.

The story I like the most is “Fiesta 1980”, in my opinion, I would say that he might have some feelings left for Mami, or he could be doing it for his kids . People fall out of love all the time, but I think it is more difficult to just completely stop caring about someone. The fact that he is having an affair is enough to break Mami’s heart, but knowing that he still cares for her can make her feel a little less hurt. Overall, I just feel as though he is trying to find it in himself to just let her know that things may get better, even when they seem like they won’t.


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