Natural world threatening Essay
Natural world threatening
On the whole, Plath finds the natural world threatening. ’ In the light of this statement, compare the ways in which Plath and Hughes write about the natural world. You must include in your response detailed reference to ‘The Moon and the Yew Tree’ and to at least one other poem. ’ The natural world often seems to reflect the writer’s mood vividly and traditionally, nature is used to convey emotions. Plath uses nature to express her interior misery by comparing aspects of nature with her own emotions to show how she is alone, isolated and emotionally cold; this is particularly visible in both ‘The Moon and the Yew Tree’ and ‘Elm’.
In contrast to Hughes, who finds the natural world fascinating as seen in ‘Hawk Roosting. ’ In The Moon and the Yew Tree, Plath focuses on two features of landscape, which are used to establish the mood. The poem quickly becomes a bleak statement of nothingness and despair, whereby she projects her feelings onto the moon and onto the yew tree. Throughout the poem, her gaze remains fixed on the moon, an image which Plath finds threatening since the light it gives off is ‘cold and planetary’ an unsettling image with Plath does not find particularly comforting, since she is describing the moon as emotionally cold.
The moon seems to have its own troubles with it being ‘terribly upset’ here Plath uses the moon to express her own feelings of sadness, although the moon conveys her own despair, she describes the moon as having despair a reason why she ‘live[s] here’ –inside the moon, in her world of despair. The personification of the moon has made it a female character traditionally for Plath a symbol of barren coldness; hence Plath finds the natural world threatening by the negative power of the moon.
The Yew Tree also lies at the heart of the poem, it is immediately associated with overwhelmingly negativity ‘the trees of the mind are black’. Plath uses pathetic fallacy giving emotions to inanimate objects throughout the poem, creating a tense, threatening atmosphere. In contrast to Plath who finds the natural world threatening, Hughes writes about the power of nature and how immense it is. Yet Hughes uses the power of creation to highlight the evil in nature, which is highlighted by the God like powers of the hawk, where the bird’s arrogance and self-importance is emphasised sitting ‘in the top of everything’.
Metaphoric images underline the hawk’s opinion of its own superiority ‘Now I hold creation in my foot’ exemplifying the God-like power of the hawk. The hawk is like a prehistoric monster ‘nothing has changed since I began’ it is something that other creatures need to fear and that underlines the sense of its own power. Hughes finds nature threatening within the poem by the evil within the hawk – it is a killing machine, everything about it is geared to ‘the allotment of death’.
Ultimately, what Hughes presents is an accumulation of onomatopoeic and metaphoric images that may cause the reader to fear the bird, which finally may persuade the reader to see nothing other than an immense specimen of nature. Similar to Plath who in ‘Elm’ writes the poem from the Elms perspective, Hughes adopts the persona of a hawk, effectively showing us the world from the birds prospective. However in contrast to Plath who uses Elm to show an image of femininity, Hughes uses the masculine hawk as a very powerful image, who is threatening because of the evil things it does.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 6 July 2017
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