Critical Analysis of Modernism Poems by Ted Hughes

1484 WordsAug 9, 20136 Pages
Literary modernism, or modernist literature, has its origins in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly in Europe and North America. Modernism is characterized by a self-conscious break with traditional styles of poetry and verse. Modernists experimented with literary form and expression, adhering to Ezra Pound's maxim to "Make it new." The modernist literary movement was driven by a conscious desire to overturn traditional modes of representation and express the new sensibilities of their time. The horrors of the First World War saw the prevailing assumptions about society reassessed such as Sigmund Freud questioned the rationality of mankind. Edward James "Ted" Hughes, OM (17 August 1930 – 28 October 1998) was an English poet and…show more content…
Now add to those layers of complexity the fact that Hughes is also seeing the world through the owl's eyes (in much the same way that in Hawk, Roosting he sees the world through the hawk's eyes - owls are birds of prey, remember, like hawks). Few people have really attempted this getting inside an animal's head like Hughes did - one rare other person is Les Murray, in Translations from the Natural World, which would give you a point of reference away from Hughes or Plath. And of course Sylvia herself was also a great nature poet, with her own specialised knowledge of natural history (her father was an expert beekeeper). So there's no way to reduce this to a handful of formulae, I'm afraid. There's much more in the poem than I've touched on, and you really need to have a basic grasp of Ted and Sylvia's relationship, and how Ted responded to her death (especially in Birthday Letters, and in the poem that surfaced late last year specifically about the night of her suicide - it got blanket coverage in the British media when Melvyn Bragg unearthed it.) It's also pretty much impossible to address all these issues without addressing the continuing debate over Ted's responsibility for and response to Sylvia's death. And the tragedy continues, as Nick committed suicide just a few years after Ted's death. Crow: From the Life and Songs of Crow Hughes describes Crow as wandering

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