• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Comparing 'Calf' by Gillian Clarke and 'February 17th' by Ted Hughes.

Extracts from this document...


Comparing 'Calf' by Gillian Clarke and 'February 17th' by Ted Hughes By Rob Corley Both poets are writing about an experience of the same thing, a birth. Hughes' however, is a bad birth and Clarke's is a good birth. Although they are relating the same subject, the two poems are very different, not only in the style of writing but in the story and atmosphere. The themes in both are the partnership of life and death. They both start by setting the atmosphere with the weather. Hughes depicts a bad atmosphere by describing the worst of winter days: "Ice wind Out of a downpour dishclout sunrise". In contrast Clarke expresses the loveliest day of the year: "The stillest, hottest day of the summer" Also Hughes describes the inhospitable environment of the: "Mudded slope" So right from the start it can be seen that Hughes is going to be relating a bad birth, and Clarke's is going to be good. Another similarity is a technique they use here which is alliteration, a technique that Hughes is very fond of. ...read more.


as a nice comfortable experience, through imagery; she gets across the gentleness and beautifulness of the birth: "The light flowed out, leaving stars and clarity" "The cow stood up, her cool flanks like white flowers in the dark." In contrast Hughes gives a detailed, and rather gruesome description of the deformed head of the lamb: "A blood ball swollen Tight in its black felt, its mouth gap Squashed crooked, tongue stuck out, black purple." This is great imagery describing the limp, bloated head with the purple deoxygenated blood and short black wool on its head. Although both of these poems are written in 1st person they are different, Hughes is very much physically involved in the experience and plays a big part in it. He is always referring to what it was he had to do: "I caught with a rope"; "I felt inside"; "I saw it was useless"; "I pushed" It is forced onto the reader every single little point, and this is clearly intentional. On the other hand Clarke's perspective is very different, she is much more just an observer and simply invites the reader to join her, although ...read more.


When is comes to the structure of the poem, even it reflects the mood of poem. Hughes splits up some of his sentences over lines, this makes it a bit jerky to maybe reflect the uneasiness of the birth and it is also used to give emphasis to the last word of the line, also 'February 17th' is in one big chunk of text and is not split into stanzas, this is make it tense and slightly uneasy for the reader. On the other hand Clarke has two short stanzas the maybe reflect the ease and straightforwardness of the delivery, she also uses the technique of splitting sentences over two lines but her poem in general has a much more formal structure. So in some ways the poems are identical because they have the same subject and themes, life and death, also they use all the same techniques so without reading it and just being told this you would begin to think they were the same. But Hughes is a lot more straightforward and down to earth in the way he tells the story, also he concentrates on just the birth and goes into a lot of detail. On the other hand ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Ted Hughes section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Ted Hughes essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast 'MCMXIV' by Philip Larkin and 'Six Young Men' by Ted Hughes.

    3 star(s)

    This reminds us how the war in 1914 will change everything, and that it is not just lives, which will be lost. In the first stanza, Larkin is giving us an image of a photo of young men joining the draft, but we do not understand what he is describing until later on in the poem.

  2. Compare 'The Lamb' and 'The Tyger' by William Blake

    'The Tyger' is less likely to be in the 'Innocence' collection because of all the references to evil; many people believe that the trait of evil cannot come from birth but is something that develops over time, after gaining experience of life.

  1. Compare the two poets Ted Hughes and Simon Armitage.

    is describing the outcome of what he did. And the last stanza (fourth section) is talking as an adult, directly to the girl that he injured. The poem begins with the sentence; 'I am very bothered when I think of the bad things I have done in my life.'

  2. Analysis Of Ted Hughs' "The Jaguar"

    This metaphorical sentence is quite powerful, as the use of the word fossil depicts the stillness of the snake and also suggests that it may have been in such a position for a long time. This is also supported by the use of a metaphor rather than a simile, which

  1. Compare the protagonists' opinions on conflict and how their experiences affect them in 'First ...

    This reluctance to leave his family without a provider and protector comes from his position as head of the family; this is opposite to Willie, whose father is very much a patriarchal figure, having been forced to become both father and mother after the death of his wife.

  2. How do the poets of "half-caste" and "search for my tongue" feel about their ...

    So the first two stanzas of her poem are about her sadness. However when she realises her mother tongue is back she feels happy "it grows back, a stomp of a shoot" she is feeling pleased that she can remember Gujarati again.

  1. The Colour Purple and Margeret Atwood

    Walker arranges the letters of 'The Colour Purple' in terms of the Afro-American literary tradition. Robert Towers said that Celie's letters convey "a sub-literate dialect into a medium of remarkable expressiveness, colour and poignancy."3 The letter is a form of narrative that combines both the objective and the subjective.

  2. Plath and Hughes wrote their last collections for different reasons, different audiences; there are ...

    He can be seen to be overwhelmed at the fact that she is dead ?I am still permanently now? which shows that he still cares for her even though she has left him. Through the lines ?Now, I see, I saw, sitting, the lonely/ Girl who was going to die?

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work