Conflicting Perspectives

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Conflicting Perspectives

Focus Question – How are conflicting perspectives revealed in two of Ted Hughes poems and a related text?

Individuals form perspectives over time reflecting their experiences, knowledge, attitudes, opinions and beliefs. Ted Hughes’ anthology of poems, Birthday Letters (1998), illustrates his personal perspective on his life with Sylvia Plath. The poems ‘Fulbright Scholars’ and ‘Sam’ reveal an array of conflicting perspectives effectively depicted by Hughes. The film The Triumph directed by Randa Haines in 2006 also demonstrates the conflicting perspectives between characters and settings.

‘Fulbright Scholars’ depicts Hughes first sighting of Sylvia Plath as the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship in an article in the newspaper. The poem reveals a constant comparison between memory and hindsight to clearly show Hughes’ conflicting perspectives. The poem opens with a rhetorical question, ‘Where was it, in the Strand?’ demonstrating Hughes authenticity in differing his memory from hindsight to denote that The Strand is typically where he would read the newspaper. This establishes Hughes’ conflict in perspective on the situation due to his memory and hindsight.

The use of qualifiers throughout the poem further contributes to this conflicting perspective of memory compared to hindsight. Hughes repeats ‘maybe in ‘maybe I noticed you. Maybe I weighed you up, felling unlikely.’ This demonstrates that Hughes was qualifying his thoughts in an attempt to use his memory to realise that at the time he would have studied the article picture and ‘…scanned particularly the girls.’ This allows the reader to believe that Hughes was the type of person to examine the women and notice Plath. However, as the poem is written at a later date, Hughes knowing Plath qualifies that as a result he would have most probably notices Plath’s beauty, thus revealing conflicting perspectives.

The conflicting perspectives of appearance versus reality are...
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