Trophies Ted Hughes Birthday letters
Trophies Ted Hughes Birthday letters
* Trophies was a response to Sylvia Plath’s own poem “pursuit”, Hughes used Trophies as a response to the poem. * Hughes starts of the poem with “The panther?” which gives the readers an idea of what the poem will be based on we mentally create an image of a panther in our minds. It is almost like a question that leaves the readers suspicious and wanting to continue to read to answer the question. * Words such as “Jaws” “Fangs” “prey” and “Beast” describes the panther but also make the reader wonder who the beast is? This could suggest that Plath is the beast in her inner self who is fighting for something this would perhaps explain her suicide attempts and the reasons why she attempted them. * The poem brings out many emotions rather than keeping them all in “Your journal pages. Your efforts to cry words” this could suggest his anger towards her his encouragement for her to write to progress. Plath’s journal is like a trophy for Hughes after her death he posses this. It can also been seen as the poet trying to get his own back discriminating her in a way that she was unable to write whereas he was.
* Hughes collected trophies for himself such as “the hairband” “amber jewels” and “ring from its ear” which then become a memory of Plath for him the poem is supernatural in regards to death. * “The Panther” symbolises the fierce sexual tension between the couple “the thrill of excitement” the excitement overcoming Hughes in their relationship suggesting he was always up for a challenge “ with a laugh I took its full weight” Hughes was always ready for Plath perhaps this is why he married her thinking he could deal with her . * “Little did I know the shock attack of a big predator” he was unaware of the way Plath would react he may have been infatuated by her at first and then realised that her approach would affect them both negatively. “The sudden look that locked me” her appearance was what really attracted him towards Plath “locked” suggesting a memory never forgotten and cherished and the role that he played in Plath’s life.
* “Its jaws into my face” their first encounter where she bites him this shows that Hughes had slowly and eventually picked up on the smallest memories and things that he collected as trophies and memories. * The constant reference of “it” “its” shows that she had another side to her which was not pleasant. “Its real prey” reference to Plath who felt a prey towards herself fighting against things such as herself, the jealousy, her ambitions, and the frustration. * “So it sprang over you” Hughes maybe suggesting that Plath was trying her best to overcome her pain and frustration which he addresses as “the panther” Plath allowed “it” to overcome her and take over her life then eventually destroying her . * “I detached” Hughes could not handle the downfall of the marriage, Plath’s attitude that he “detached” himself from her, the marriage, the children and that was the downfall.
* “The whiff of that beast, off the dry pages” Plath eventually allowed everything to get to her that she detached herself from writing and going on to succeed Hughes seems like he is mocking her . * Hughes uses a lot of nature in this poem which creates imagery “splashing” “aired” “chemical process- combustion” the words link to the atmosphere of the earth and the things around us. * The animalistic imagery of the “fangs” the idea of being “dragged” is very animalistic Hughes uses this to show a side of Plath which he only knew well enough this is his way of describing her to the readers. * “Of despair, terror” the terror Plath had within her this also shows that Hughes’s remembers every little and the most possible detail about Plath it is clear that he loved her truly. * “ Is the chemical process – a combustion of the stuff of judgement” the suspicious nature that Plath carried within her had eventually exploded when she was jealous of the female relationships Hughes had with other women.
Subject: Sylvia Plath,
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 9 January 2017
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