Thistles by Ted Hughes
The title ‘thistles’ refers to a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles. The poem is very short and is separated into four stanzas of three lines each. The poem does not have a rhyming pattern but uses much alliteration. The poem conveys a negative mood, one that is aggressive and violent. In the first stanza, Hughes portrays an almost countryside atmosphere for the readers to experience. He uses alliteration: “hoeing hands” that describe the work of the people there digging up the thistle plant to remove it. The second line: “Thistles spike the summer air” it contrasts the image the writer describes. The summer air, often associated with calm, warm atmosphere which we would find relaxing, but the use of the word ‘spike’ cuts through the atmosphere and allows the reader to imagine fully how sharp thistles are. Also the word chosen is very violent. The final line of the stanza: “And crackle open under a blue-black pressure.” the word crackle creates and image for the reader. “Blue-black pressure” suggests wounds as you would relate blue-black colours to bruises which creates the image that the thistles are so powerful, despite ‘pressure’ put on it, it does not get affected so much. The second stanza of the poem, describes the thistles as something that keeps coming back, almost like it is invincible. “Every one a revengeful burst/ Of resurrection,” this shows how we have tried to remove these thistles but they constantly ‘resurrects’ itself and it seems ‘revengeful’ which shows how the writer tries to link thistles to violence and how it continuously reappears. “Of splintered weapons” describes the thistles how the writer wants us to imagine them, as it they are these objects that cause pain and violence and to describe this plant growing he uses the words “thrust up” which is personification as it gives the reader the image that it is forcing itself out of the ground. “From the underground stain of a decayed...
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