Ted Hughes - 'Red'

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  • "Blood red" - the use of blood red connotes energy and vitality of blood pumping round the body, symbolic of life.
    • Also a description of Plath's passion?
  • Red
    • "Aztec altar" - linking blood red with aztec alter connotes some kind of sacrifice, Hughes coping with Plath's death by exploring death in it's most perverted forms.
    • As with all the 'birthday letters' poems, form is erratic and random, symbolising the random thoughts that seem to flow from poet when thinking of Red, shows how evocative a colour it is.
    • "If not red, then white" - the two colours of Tulips. White comes subordinate to red in this, contrasts to tulips. Hughes saw a life in her that Plath did not see herself?
    • "Blue was better for you" - if red represents life then blue could represent death? Suggests Hughes felt that Plath was happier having passed away.
    • "Blood red" - the use of blood red connotes energy and vitality of blood pumping round the body, symbolic of life.
      • Also a description of Plath's passion?
    • Structurally red dominated the poem throughout so when we get to 8th stanza mention of "blue" is chilling, almost shocking.
      • Ending with blue reminds us that having been caught up in this engrossing red that all of  Plath's vitality is "lost".

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