Lyric: ‘Where's my Snare?’: Eminem and Sylvia Plath

Peter Childs

in Texts

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780748620432
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671700 | DOI:
Lyric: ‘Where's my Snare?’: Eminem and Sylvia Plath

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Released in 2002, Eminem’s song ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’ signals itself as a child’s rebellion in its title by alluding to the common parental demand to clean up private space in the family home and using this as a metaphor for emotionally and mentally exorcising past traumas inflicted by the parent. Presented as an image of the repository for the clutter and ‘skeletons’ of the past, the closet is also both the psyche of the singer and a representation of the child’s space in relation to the mother, ultimately the womb. While acknowledging the formal difference between poetry and music lyrics, from a literary perspective it is worth considering how ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’ has several facets in common thematically with a poem that has undergone considerable critical analysis: Sylvia Plath’s ‘Daddy’. In her guise as confessional poet, Plath has had some direct and indirect influence on popular music. For example, Madonna has named Plath, whom she read as a teenager, as one of her inspirations, and in some respects the lyrics to her songs bear direct comparison with ‘Daddy’, as does Eminem’s.

Keywords: Psychoanalytic Criticism; Eminem; Sylvia Plath; ‘Cleanin Out my Closet’; ‘Daddy’

Chapter.  4794 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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