Analysis of Tractor by Ted Hughes

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Tractor – Ted Hughes
This is a poem in which Hughes dramatises man's struggle with an often hostile environment. Here, the poet is trying to rescue a tractor form its 'hell of ice'. Hughes uses personification. The tractor is personified in order to make the incident as dramatic as possible. Throughout the poem it is compared to animal, and its final release from the trap of the weather is like the birth of a baby animal. As well as the wonderful descriptions of the tractor and the weather in this poem, Hughes displays his ability to describe physical pain. Lines like 'feet are unbelievable As if the toe-nails were all just torn off', make a reader wince! The poem is as much about how Hughes deals with the dangerous situation and his feelings about the incident. Hughes uses a lot of sensual imagery and figurative language in this poem. The poem contains: Personification, metaphors and similes and he also uses paradox, or oxymoron. Sensual imagery

There are many lines in which Hughes personifies the tractor giving it feeling and emotion. The most important example is probably the last line of the poem, where the words, 'raging and trembling and rejoicing', suggest the range of intense and mixed emotions felt after a traumatic experience such as those felt by a parent after prolonged labour and the birth of a child. The purpose of the personification is to make the scene as alive and dramatic as possible. But also, there is also the sense of man once again becoming part of the landscape as the line between what is alive and feels is blurred. Metaphors and Similes

There is an extended metaphor in the opening stanza of the poem. The snow is described as being 'a spill of molten ice', it 'pours into the steel', in a 'white heat' and aims its fiery 'hosing' at the tractor. These images suggest an industrial process, where something is being melted down and transformed into something new. It is also as if the weather is alive, aware of what it is doing as it 'aimed'...
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