Ted Hughes Poetry


I made some notes on a few of the key poems from Ted Hughes for the English exam and thought some of you may find it helpful.

It has lots of quotes and my own ideas, some of which aren't very good!!

Hope it's helpful. 


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  • Created by: robefe
  • Created on: 03-06-16 17:12
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Ted Hughes:
Thrushes Page 82
`Terrifying are the attent thrushes on the lawn,/ More Hughes uses the technique of fronting, instant
coiled steel than living'. reversal in general opinion of a thrush. Shows the
proximity of the thrush + how impenetrable and
`Nest full of brats' = not sweet innocent little chicks. invasive nature is ­ weapon imagery.
`Dark deadly eye, those delicate legs/ Triggered to Strong alliteration = forceful and sinister
stirrings beyond sense ­ with a start, a bounce, a Compare physical description of bird
stab'. against physical actions
| compare with human behaviour: `no indolent Heighten sense e.g seismograph
procrastinations and no yawning stares. / No sighs or Strong plosives emphasise movement
headscratchings. Nothing but bound and stab'. Weapon imagery.
Double use of negatives.
Describes them as having `singlemindsized Methodical nature
skull' = only capable of focusing on one thing Repeated use of `bounce and stab' ­
reflects the movement + reinforces the
`Drag out some writhing thing'. No feelings of remorse or guilt ­ need for survival,
food chain.
Compare with leisure killing
Reverse normal view of a thrush.
Shows how animals are NOT dependant on
humans ­ satirises humans throwing them
Compare with human dependency on nature
`Is it their singlemindsized skulls, or a trained/ Body, Questions their motives ­ humanises their instincts.
or genius, or a nestful of brats/ Gives their days this Proves that humans are not capable of focusing on
bullet and automatic/ Purpose?' one sole thing as he questions why they do it =
hardship of knowledge. Prevents humans from
admiring the beauty of nature ­ over analysis.
`Mozart's brain had it, and the shark's mouth/ That Enjambment reflects the lack of thought from the
hungers down the bloodsmell even to a leak of its shark ­ instinct, does not realise it is its own flesh.
own/ Side and devouring of itself'. Does not feel pain.
Dehumanises Mozart
Removal of specific body parts `brain', `mouth'
`efficiency which/ Strikes too streamline for any + `side' = not in control ­ all due to instinctive
doubt to pluck at it/ Or obstruction deflect'. nature.

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Page 2

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Too' ­ hinder ­ contrast with the efficiency of
`With a man it is otherwise. Heroisms on horseback'. Shows human dependency on animals ­ require a
horse to make them a hero, furthermore human is at
mercy of the horse
`Outstripping his deskdiary at a broad desk,/ Carving
at a tiny ivory ornament'. ** the poem is caused by an animal ­ the thrush
causes Hughes to reflect on human nature.…read more

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Compare richness of nature with the decaying
Strong heavy description yet also: `They dance human world (monastery). Link to thrushes as
on the surface among the flies'. it shows that nature is independent from
`Killers from the egg: the malevolent aged grin'. Idea of born evil ­ nature vs nurture. `Killers' = natural
contrast `aged' with `egg' = not young innocence. instinct, inbred, doesn't need to be learnt.
`Malevolent' = wishes to do evil, contrast against
`the grin it was born with'.…read more

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Three we kept behind glass,/ Jungled in weed: three Narrator removes them from their natural habitat.
inches, four,/ And four and a half'. Compare manmade product with the natural
environment. Contrast `jungled' against `glass'.
Observed their violence and nature on human
terms. Perhaps questions morality of captivity.
`fed fry to them / Suddenly there were two. Finally Rapid growth, contrast against stillness.
one/ With a sag belly'. Double meaning of `fry' = destruction or fish food.…read more

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Pike is watching ­ again link to the eyes = ingrained
image. Threatening/ intimidating.
The pike questions the humans being there.
Observation of the natural world provokes the realisation that humans have been
wrongly observing animals ­ idea reflected in thrushes.
Shows that nature is not dependent of humans ­ shows that animals will long outlast
nature due to violence. This is shown by the continuation of the lake.…read more

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Something more near/ Though deeper within Night is symbolic of the depths of the imagination,
darkness/ Is entering the loneliness'. dormant genius.
`d's produce a heavy sound
Repetition of loneliness signifies the writer's
The darkness provides a cloak/veneer for the fox.
Unsure idea.
`Cold, delicately as the dark snow,/ A fox's nose Cold can be seen to juxtapose against the word
touches twig, leaf;'. delicately = tenderness.…read more

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The window is starless still; the clock ticks/ The page Fullcircle + the pace decreases. Reversal of order of
is printed'. verb/noun perhaps reflects the fact that the fox has
produced the idea.
Page has been printed by the fox = black and white. The fact that the clock remains ticking symbolises the
The fox is simultaneously trapped and freed through lack of physical change ­ only the page has been
people's imaginations. printed, immortalised.
The words provide a body for the fox.…read more

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Enjambment between `hearing' and `bullets' perh
links to the delayed sound. `B' on bullets and bell
strong, punchy sound force. Not hitting a targ
`He lugged a rifle numb as a smashed arm;' The solider becomes the weapon, embodies war.
Metaphor. `Lugged' shows hindrance which is
supported by `smashed'. Cannot differentiate
between the world around him and himself. Vivid
image of the soldier running towards the hedge.…read more

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Open silent, its eyes `Shot' = sharp sound, mimetic of a bullet. `Threw u
standing out'. no control, sudden.
Yellow ­ links to the greens earlier mentioned, in
`Threshing' alludes to spasmodic, lack of control. harmony with its surrounding juxtaposes against t
circle has agrarian links, mechanical. war going on around them.…read more

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These strong adjectives contrast
`black' = pathetic fallacy? against the feeble `floundering' which reinforces the
idea of the sea ­ fish.
Battle imagery. Both are verbs and end in `ing' but floundering
`Blinding wet' = tears, wind whipped,
is the longest word, 3 syllables reflects the
powerless/helpless against the wind/nature
Enjambment reflects the length of the storm and the movement.
awakening/rising of a new day.…read more


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