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Comparison between 'Tall Nettles' and 'Thistles'

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Comparison between 'Tall Nettles' and 'Thistles' Nettles and thistles, love and hate, serene and ghastly. These are but three small comparisons of two very symbolic poems written by two great men. 'Tall Nettles' by Edward Thomas and 'Thistles' by Ted Hughes are poems about the battle between nature and the race of men, but at the same time are very different. This essay will compare these two poems by looking at how the subjects have been treated, the style of the poem (both the language and structure) and finally how the poet himself has an influence on the poem. Both composers tackle the idea of nature's struggle against man, but they do this in their own individual way. In 'Tall Nettles' Edward Thomas uses time as the dominant feature of this struggle, how inevitably, through time and the elements, nature will win over man. There is also an underlying meaning used in this poem by representing man as machinery and man made objects, especially made for the killing of nature, which really represents to me everything man is, that being: ever expanding, trying to build empires and at the same time ruining what nature we have. So by having nature destroy and overpower this machinery, even though it is drawn out over a long period of time, tells us that nature will always win. ...read more.


He also uses these sounds to generate impact and put emphasis on the words. Overall these bring about a sharp and hard poem setting a very deep and gloomy tone. Again the two poems use contrasting ideas to portray the same subject. The structure of the poem is as important in poems to help convey the idea and feeling to the reader, as the words are at times. 'Tall Nettles' and 'Thistles' are structured completely different from each other, therefore the urgency or climax of the poem is placed at a different part. First 'Tall Nettles', here the poem is broken up into two stanzas with four verses in each. The four lines in both the first stanza and the second follow on from each other so are said as one sentence, creating a flowing rhythm within the poem, again portraying an extended period of time. Personally I interpret this as the first stanza being where Thomas describes the nettles and their actions and the second, where he describes his own feelings and emotions towards the nettles, giving the poem a personal touch, because this is where we get the warm tone of the poem from. Also contributing to the soft tone of this poem is its rhyme scheme. ...read more.


From there he crammed all his poetry into the next two years and was killed in action in 1917. Thomas wrote his poems during wartime but was not largely influenced by this major event instead wrote about his love for the English countryside. Ted Hughes was born in England, in the grip of the Great Depression. However Hughes found solace and seclusion in South Yorkshire where he escaped from his life in West Yorkshire. His father was one of the sole survivors of the WW1, Gallipoli Expedition and this would have had a significant impact on Hughes as a young boy. Hughes was educated at Pembroke College then moved onto Cambridge University in 1951, but it was at Mexemborough Grammar School that he began to write poetry. Ted was also a naturalist which would explain his passion for nature. All of these biographical details of both poets help us to understand these two poems with a greater depth of understanding and clarity. Nature at its simplest against man at its best; plosives and fricatives compared to fluids and sibilants; rhyme, rhythm and punctuation; finally Oxford against Cambridge. Comparisons between these two poems have been made in the hope to give a better understanding of the two poems mentioned, and hopefully it has been achieved through the in depth analysis of these two very complex but at the same time simple poems, Tall Nettles by Edward Thomas and Thistles by Ted Hughes. ...read more.

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