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“A pink wool knitted dress,” by Ted Hughes and “Sonnet XLIII” (43) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

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Introduction

Love Poetry Coursework By Eithne Mc Crory. The two poems I have selected to compare and contrast are, "A pink wool knitted dress," by Ted Hughes and "Sonnet XLIII" (43) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The first poem I intend to analyse is, "A pink wool knitted dress." This poem is not written along conventional lines, since it does not employ the use of sonnet or stanzas of four lines. Indeed there are three lines in the first stanza while the fourth stanza could be a sonnet in itself as it consists of fourteen lines. All the other stanzas are of differing lengths as are the lengths of the lines. In terms of rhyme in many of the poems I have previously read the last word in each line often rhymes with the last word in the next line or the second next line. This sort of rhyming occurs in Barrett Browning Sonnet XLIII where the second and third lines rhyme as do the first and fourth. This pattern continues throughout the poem. Hughes writes in run on sentences, some of which carry on into the next line, in fact the style and structure of the poem reminds me more of a piece of prose than a poem. ...read more.

Middle

How can this be a love poem? The whole flavour and texture of the poem is so mundane, workaday and prosaic, just like any other day. Does this reflect Hughes' innermost thoughts about his wedding? That is certainly the impression he gives me. So how is it a love poem? The answer lies in the last two stanzas where Hughes addresses his bride in language that is quite different to that used in the previous stanzas. In the second last stanza the language contains heavenly imagery, "Transfigured," "brimming with God," "the heavens open," "Riches ready to drop upon us," "levitated." What a contrast to what has gone before! Not drab but uplifting and celestial. But is Hughes describing a person whom he loves or some image he sees in her? Is it what she can do for him, not what he can do for her? The last stanza seems to reflect the poet's notion that his bride is 'crazy' about him and simply cannot take her eyes off him. Nowhere in the poem does Hughes describe a similar intoxication for her. This poem is the embodiment of what Ted Hughes sees and portrays himself as a poet. "Imagine what you are writing about. See it and live it... Look at it, touch it, smell it Listen to it, turn yourself into it." ...read more.

Conclusion

Browning herself suffered ill health and that she was conscious that death was never far away so this possible morbidity could arise from that feeling. It is undoubtedly very intense. Both poems differ in many obvious ways. Ted Hughes poem is much longer, he has quite a different style and approach, his piece tells a story with a certain amount of wry humour and diversity. Only in the last part of it does Hughes concentrate on the theme Of love whereas Barrett Browning is totally concentrated on the love theme. Of course both are structurally quite different and different also in both tone and language. Hughes uses inclined, common and everyday language while Barrett Browning's is austere and devotional like the language used in a prayer. Perhaps, in the final analysis, Ted Hughes' approach to love is not quite as serious and faithful as Elizabeth Barrett Browning's. She expresses her love in depth, breadth and Height while Hughes' expression of love somewhat appears to be more shallow and perhaps less sincere. Does Hughes love his bride merely because she loves him? While Barrett Browning appears to love her partner for his own sake. I prefer Ted Hughes' poem, basically because I feel it is more true to life, the storyline is also interesting. This is a stark contrast to the quasi-religious intensity of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's sonnet, which I find too overpowering and totally redolent of the early Victorian ethos. ...read more.

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