The Angel – Ted Hughes Poem Analysis

Published: 2021-08-03 22:40:06
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Category: Poetry, Writer, Metaphor, Angel

Type of paper: Essay

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1) What is the poem about?
My personal view is that Ted Hughes has attempted to interpret his inner feelings relating to the deaths of his two wives and mother in his writing. The poem is centred around Halifax and I think this is of relevance because Ted Hughes grew up in the town so will always be able to make a connection between the actual place, his family and his upbringing. I find it significant that Hughes was frequently accused of writing poetry which is unnecessarily violent as my opinion is that he was simply being a typically blunt Yorkshire man, describing visions as he sees them.
I am aware that the understandings of meanings may vary from reader to reader, but from studying the poem I understand that Hughes is describing a vision of what he thought to be an angel over the Calder Valley landscape. I also think that Hughes may use his poetry as a method to display his emotions and guilt felt towards both of his wives committing suicide.

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2) How does the poet use language to convey the meaning, give examples of use of any figurative or metaphorical language?
Hughes endeavours to use his poetry as a powerful way of reaching our feelings and emotions in a subconscious manner. In his position as a writer, Hughes attempts to help release our suppressed creative energies, and he believes that poetry is particularly effective for this purpose. Hughes technique involves using appropriate wording to influence the reader's imagination which results in the effect being a release of emotional energy.
I don't think his language and structure of writing is necessarily easy to understand. My approach to this was to study the background of Hughes as a person, this helped me to appreciate his work and recognize the style in which Hughes aspires to create a vision. I have researched more of Hughes poetry and upon doing so, noticed and become aware of the fact that certain images recur in his work.
In his poem The Angel, Hughes uses metaphors such as "it was a swan the size of a city!" this type of wording will attract the reader's attention with an element of surprise as a metaphor is a phrase or figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing, is used to designate another. The result is it makes an implicit comparison. "Smoking Snow" is an oxymoron as two contradictory terms are combined. Realistically, it is not possible for snow to smoke but this is designed to add effect as it sounds quite dramatic.
"Rippling its fringed edges" - Rippling is an onomatopoeia as is fluttered. Hughes uses these types of words to imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to (such as fluttered referring to dress). "Glowed like the night-cloud over Sheffield" would be classed as a simile as it is making a comparison and using the word like. I find the wording "Strange square of Satin" to be alliteration as Hughes is repeating the consonants to result in the same types of sounds. My view is that Hughes has used the word "enigmatic" as a personification as it is giving a human attribute to an inanimate object (square of satin).
3) What senses is the poet using to convey his vision and meaning?
I think Hughes mainly tries to illustrate his poem The Angel as a vision in which we can receive a vivid and quite clear picture in our heads of the events and images. I think this is particularly correct of the sentence "She was cast in burning metal" as I can actually envisage the sight of the angel surrounded by the hot, flaming metal. Part of Hughes piece also appeal to my touch senses such as "When I next saw that strange square of satin I reached out and touched it". This comment made me think of the soft and silky feel of holding satin in my hand. When Hughes is quoting his vision of the words of advice spoken by his mother it appeals to the senses of sound.
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4) Which pieces of the poem do you especially like and why?
The first reason I favour the poem is because I am familiar with the towns he is referring to (Halifax and Sheffield) and I think it is important to comprehend the significance of his Yorkshire origins in order to understand his work. I am curious of the fact that there is often a darker side to Hughes poetry. I particularly enjoyed the section where Hughes was describing his vision of an angel and how it suddenly changed into an omen surrounded by burning metal as I receive a clear picture of the event in my imagination and I can almost feel the terror and panic that Hughes aspires to describe.
I like the way that Hughes describes his experiences realistically and does not try to express himself in the traditional and romantic way for which other English poets are famous. I especially favoured The Angel as it arouses strong emotions and it is not a conventional piece. I have noticed that Hughes frequently does not conform to the conventions which society expects of him, and naturally this upsets people.

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