To What Extent Does Hughes' Poem 'Your Paris' Present the Main Is...

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To What Extent Does Hughes' Poem 'Your Paris' Present the Main Issues of the Collection Birthday Letters?

By | April 2013
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To what extent does Hughes’ poem, ‘Your Paris’ present the main issues of Birthday Letters? (Reference to two other poems) Ted Hughes’ poem ‘Your Paris’ was written about Ted Hughes’ and Sylvia Plath’s visit to Paris shortly after their marriage on 16 June 1956. The poem is part of the collection ‘Birthday Letters’ published in 1998, 35 years after the suicide of Sylvia Plath and so is written (as most of the collection) with the benefit of Hindsight and so Hughes is able to relate their trip to Paris to the future of their relationship. One of the main issues presented in ‘Your Paris’ is a conflict of Paths and Hughes perspectives on Paris. The opening line ‘Your Paris, I thought, was American’ immediately shows that Hughes is assuming Plath’s perspective based on her actions such as ‘wanted to draw les toits’. Plath was very much interested in the tourist side of Paris and was immersing herself so much in the history and the culture that she became oblivious to the destruction it had undergone during World War Two. Hughes, however, had an insight to the devastation as had previously served in the RAF as so is aware of, and on the lookout for, evidence of Paris’ attempt to recover , ‘So recently the coffee was still bitter/ As acorns, and the waiters’ eyes/ Clogged with dregs of betrayal, reprisal, hatred’. He is evidently angered by Plath’s apparent ignorance towards Paris and refers to it as being ‘Diesel aflame to the dog in me’. His anger towards Plath appears in many of the poems in the collection birthday letters through accusation; especially in ‘Sam’ where the bitter tone reciprocates the mood in ‘Your Paris’. This issue of different perspectives is resounding throughout the poem and prompts the further issues to arise. Clearly, the difference in perspectives also highlights a lack of understanding on either Plath’s or Hughes part, however it becomes clear that Hughes is also trying to shield Plath from the truth, from HIS Paris, because he worries...