Conflicting Perspectives

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Conflicting Perspectives are riddled throughout Birthday letters and the poems of Plath. Old/Young, Man/Woman, Love/Hate, All in abundance, Hughes and Plath represent an enigmatic couple that define the very word ‘Conflict’

In Hughes’ poem RED, the last in his anthology, Birthday Letters, Hughes adapts/ subverts Plath’s style of utilising colours to represent various feelings and ideas. Early in their marriage Plath wrote to her mother claiming “I am so suggestible to colours…I’m sure a red carpet would keep me forever optimistic” Hughes plays on Plath’s decision to decorate their house …”making the room cheerful like the inside of a valentine”. However, his tone is far from optimistic. His claim “Red was your colour. /If not red, then white.” immediately infers conflict of perspective as clarity is wanting. At the same time he seeks to clarify the duality of her personality. In Plath’s earlier poems the colour red was aligned with vitality, her life blood. “In Kindness she described “the blood jet of poetry” as the exhilaration sought from her poetry. Hughes alleges , with the use of the personal pronoun, that red is now a symbol of her self induced suffering “But red/Was what you wrapped around you” the morbid obsession with her father further emphasised through the rhetorical questions “Was it blood?…for warming the dead?..The precious heirloom bones, the family bones.”

In the minotaur, A poem again by Hughes written for birthday letters. There are two personalities on whom the focus is within the poem. While there is also reference to two other people within the poem, the focal point is the action and dialogue between Hughes and Sylvia Plath. The poem opens with violent action. Plath is represented as being in a fit of rage, smashing Hughes’s mother’s heirloom sideboard. For Hughes, the damage goes beyond the destruction of the physical, as seen in “Mapped with the scars of my whole life”. This could also be interpreted tom imply that he too has...
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