Hughes's poetry constitutes a moral project. It demands that we see our world and ourselves differently. Discuss.
Together, ‘Crow’s Account of the Battle’ and ‘Wodwo’ by Ted Hughes detail aspects of human nature that Hughes is calling the readers to reflect upon from external viewpoints. Hughes is asking a generation exposed to the horrors of war, the destruction caused by the atomic bombs and the Nazi holocaust to consider such pointless destruction and how so much of it is caused by our alienation from the complete being of the universe. He demands that we understand what it is all conscious beings feel we are missing, and fill that void by connecting to the natural world and through art and poetry. ‘Crow’s Account of the Battle’ shows the effects of our alienation and its disastrous consequences, but also asks us to examine these from the outside perspective of Crow. ‘Wodwo’ is a poem showing the first stages of alienation caused by self consciousness and its possible dangers. Finally, together these poems allow us to examine ourselves objectively, and understand what it is that Hughes is demanding we must do to survive our dangerous hubris.
‘Crow’s Account of the Battle’ is a disturbing picture of human coldness told from the neutral perspective of Hughes’s ‘Crow’. While the Crow figure features in many of Hughes’s poetry in order to provide an objective viewpoint, we can still see in this poetry Hughes’s own disapproving feelings about war in the tone of the poem, “This had happened too often before/ And was going to happen to often in the future”. The nature of the word “Account” in the title is very scientific in itself, and the lack of metre in the poem accentuates the tone of a report. There are no agencies in this poem, we encounter human parts such as ‘ear’, ‘eyes’, ‘intestines’, ‘brains’, ‘hair and ‘teeth’ but there are no sides, all Crow sees are humans at war. Also, the verbs have no subjects attached to them, “cartridges were banging...
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