Conflicting Perspectives

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Composers can manipulate the content of their texts by employing deliberate literary techniques that inevitably shape their representation of the truth. The film text ‘Sylvia’ (2003) and Ted Hughes poems ‘The Shot’ and ‘Sam’ (Birthday Letters) display conflicting perspectives of the relationship between Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, which has become world renowned as a long standing literary controversy. The ‘Birthday Letters’ poems harbour poignant emotions such as pain and self-pity, whereas the film ‘Sylvia’ uses visual techniques to convey the anguish and torment endured by Plath. These two representations inexorably challenge the views of the audience and produce an array of responses. By incorporating various textual forms and language techniques such as imagery and extended metaphor, the composers have generated incendiary perceptions into the parallels drawn from both Plath and Hughes lives. In his poem ‘Sam’, Hughes portrays the perspective that it was Plath’s intense nature which caused him to ‘jump the fence’ and seek relationships with other women. Sam was a horse that Sylvia had rented out for riding which subsequently bolted on her; however Hughes uses th is incident as an extended metaphor for their relationship (Sylvia the rider and Hughes the horse which she lost control of). There is a conflicting perspective within the poem itself, which exacerbates the complex nature of their relationship. At the beginning of the poem Hughes conveys that it is Plath’s intense nature that causes him to ‘start home at a gallop’. He states that Sylvia herself loses control of their relationship, ‘you lost your reins. You lost your seat’. This conveys the perspective that Plath was an emotionally unstable person who had lost previous control of their relationship. In contrast to this, is the perspective that Plath was a talented writer that produced eminent poetry. ‘Something in you not you did it for itself’ reflects the idea that she was kept alive only to...
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