Conflicting Perspectives

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It is often said that conflict of some kind is at the heart of every narrative, and behind and within the poems in Birthday Letters Ted Hughes grapples with a range of conflicting perspectives, some of them internal, on the tragic outcome of his marriage to the poet Sylvia Plath. There are certainly conflicting perspectives on situations, events and characters in these poems. Referring to two poems, “Fulbright Scholars” and “Your Paris”, we will find how Hughes has created those perspectives. The movie Sylvia (2003) is especially interesting as it draws on the same situation, but the perspectives are different and the way they are created is very different. In both of these examples studying how the perspectives are created does make the texts richer and sharpens awareness of how such conflicts play out in life. According to Janne Schill (Deconstructing Perspectives 2003) a perspective is “an impression that is given by viewing something from a certain position. This position, in a specific context, acts as a vantage point from which a particular issue is seen, heard, felt, or otherwise understood.” In “Fulbright Scholars”…

We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are. This is because perspective has a subjective nature. Past events, important facts and particular situations affect how a person perceives something. This concept of perspective was evident in the close study of Ted Hughes’ 1998 “Birthday Letters” and Christina Jeffs’ 2003 “Sylvia”. Both texts shed light on the controversial relationship between Hughes and Sylvia Plath.
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