Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes Critics

Uroff says about Plath’s speakers…
Plath makes the self the centre of her poems
Plath uses techniques of parody, caricature and hyperbole to distance the speaker

Dobbs says about Plath’s presentation of women… (2)
‘conflict between family and career’
‘fertility of the spring is the disorder that romance brings’

Freedman says about Plath’s presentation of women… (2)
‘rejection of the female role
‘female speakers are typically inanimate and passive’

Lindberg says about Plath’s women
disgust at the human female

Aird says about the structure of Plath’s poetry
the conclusion is the climax
search for the dynamic and fear of the static
exploration of balanced opposites

Beake says about Plath’s structure
Plath’s long lines are often sculpted by the movement of breath

Aird says about Plath’s presentation of the ordinary
household concerns and uses them as a stepping point for wider concerns

influenced by Roethke

Wagner says about colour
some critics rely heavily on Plath’s use of colour

Kinsella says about Hughes’ animals…
more symbolic than weak
pushes the sublime into the brutal

Lindberg says about Plath’s presentation of nature
psychic landscapes
never seems to be quite at home
landscapes serve as mirrors for a self

Aird says about Plath’s presentation of nature
presents the dangers of a man made world

Annas says about Plath’s presentation of nature
stasis and perfection are always associated with sterility

the divided self in Plath’s poetry
Study of double identity (The Magic Mirror).

Plath saw this as a contradiction in man.

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Death of one self in order for the new self to exist.

Robert Graves- t=The White Godess
she is linked with birth, love and death
an approach to the study of mythology

Skea Wolves
wolves embody the contradictory qualities of the natural energies- beauty and horror

Wolves for Hughes
part of the uncivilised prehistoric inheritance which is still present in our instincts and emotions

Fuller on crow poems
anti human ideas, sadistic imagery

Hughes and ecocriticism
Hughes’ poems anticipate ecocriticism

Hughes’ dream
‘a figure that was at the same time a skinny man and a fox walking erect on its hind legs’. The man-fox left a bloody paw-print on his essay, saying to Hughes, ‘Stop this – you are destroying us’

environment and women repressed by men

Webb- Hughes interest in animals
connected to his preoccupation with the survivalist qualities evidenced in the First World War

Armitage conflict
poetry of conflict, of dramatic tension

poetry and religion Gifford
Hughes’ belief that poetry has become the secular healing substitute for organized religion

Webb animal poet
Hughes is termed an animal poet

awareness of animals as a founding element of his identity

Henry Hart
identified with the predatory animals themselves.

Clark P+H violence
mutual interest in violence

Uroff the self
Uroff finds that the self in Plath’s poems is weak and submissive, wheareas in Hughes represents a ‘witness [to elemental power] in control’

Rich Feminism
praises her female energy and dynamic charge

critics agree Hughes’ work isn’t traditional pastoral

A05 Hughes animal metaphors Sandie Byrne
Relationship between man and nature or aspects of the self

Eliade: Shamans
succeed in creating the time when the divorce between man and the animal world had not yet occurred

Morrisson on Wodwo
human act of wodwo is its intelligence and self- consciousness

Hughes treats poetry as a form of quest. Wodwo metaphor for perseverance

Heany and West voice
Heaney- authoritative voice

West: ‘I’ poems become an actor in a drama

Hughes human nature
-presented through animals
-negative aspects of human nature
-Skea: uses crow as a symbol of dark, subconscious human nature

Richard Webster love
-conflict between violence and tenderness
-Christian ideal of love

Chinon Review love
finest love poet of his generation

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Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes Critics. (2018, Jan 19). Retrieved from

Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes Critics
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