Conflicting Perspectives Essay

Topics: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Grammatical person Pages: 4 (1293 words) Published: August 27, 2013
According to Jane Schill a perspective is “a impression that is given by viewing something from a certain position.” Due to the inherent subjective bias of interpretation, conflicting perspectives surrounding Hughes and Plath’s controversial relationship are inevitable. This duality of viewpoint is seen in “Fulbright Scholars” and “Sam” by Ted Hughes and of the poem “Ariel” by Sylvia Plath, where both poets manipulate language, sound and textual form to attest to the veracity of their own personal perspectives while providing deeper personal insights of one another.

After Plath’s suicide, the feminist movement quickly portrayed her as a martyr who had been driven to suicide by a villainous, unfaithful Hughes. In order to refute these claims, Hughes begins “Fulbright Scholars”, his first poem in his anthology Birthday Letters with a rhetorical question. “When was it, in the strand?” This immediately sets up a honest uncertainty which is reinforced by the repetition of questions throughout the poem: “Were you among them.. With their luggage?” Thus Hughes admits that his perspective is fallible to imperfect memory. Distinct pauses after the words “A display”, “Not” of “American” create a break in rhythm and enjambment, which combined with the repetition of “it” and the “I” alliteration in the first four lines, further reflect Hughes’ desperate attempt at recollection. Thereafter, repeated “maybe” of low modality statements “Maybe I noticed you… For some reason,” further undermine certainty. Thus, by confusing the frailty of his memory, a common human weakness, Hughes portrays an insight into himself as a honest, sincere man even endearing himself to his critics.

Only after Hughes has convinced the reader of his honesty does he provide a deeper insight on Plath, that she is not what she seems. In the line, “Noted your long hair, loose waves, Veronica Lake Bang. Not what it hid, “Hughes uses a visual image to conjure a Plath hidden behind fake facades, which,...
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