Ted Hughes Birthday Letters

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Introduction: Conflicting perspectives are different points of view expressed and influenced by ones context and values. “Birthday Letters” by Ted Hughes is an anthology of poems challenging the accusation that he was responsible for his wife, Sylvia Plath’s death. The three poems The Minotaur, Your Paris, and Red are an insight into Hughes justification of the death of Plath using a very subjective and emotive poetic form. The poems possess many deliberate techniques such as extended metaphors, connotations, diction and juxtaposition to encourage the audience to accept his argument that he was not the one to blame for this world renown tragedy. The poem Daddy by Sylvia Plath also displays conflicting perspectives of the relationship between Plath. THE MINOTAUR

Techniques: The destructive power of her personality is vividly conveyed through verbs, such as ‘smashed’, with its sense of overstated activity. Sarcastic dialogue - Sarcastic dialogue is used as Hughes words within the context of the incident. “Get that shoulder in your stanzas and we’ll be away” is focusing on the anger within her personality and suggests she fails to incorporate these tendencies in her poetry. Hughes positions himself as calm and encouraging her in her art. Quotes:

She was “Demented by my being”, and “Twenty minutes late for baby minding.” Here we see how truth depends on perspective, on who is telling it, based on how they saw it, and now how they tell it. That she was ‘demented’ may have been simply to his trivial error or that carelessness on Hughes’s part may have been the last straw in a sequence of events which had driven her mad. Towards the end of the poem the repetition of ‘your, “Your marriage, your children, your mother” creates an accusatory tone. Hughes has purposefully written himself out of the equation. Conclusion:

This poem highlights the conflicting perspective of Hughes and his relationship with Plath, and gives reason that because of Plath’s...
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