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

A Critical Commentary on October Salmon by Ted Hughes

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Josh Barrow (R) A Critical Commentary on 'October Salmon' by Ted Hughes The poem, "October Salmon" is a poem about a salmon swimming upstream to its breeding ground to lay its eggs. Hughes has cleverly titled the poem "October Salmon" as the word 'salmon' is singular and plural. This poem seems to be about a single fish, yet it could be referring to many others like it. The first few stanzas contrast the grandeur of the journey with the fertility and ugliness of death. For instance, Hughes says "After his two thousand miles, he rests". This shows that the salmon has travelled a remarkable individual journey; however, it is made all for nothing. Hughes says that the salmon is "Four years old at most". This shows how young the salmon was. The fact that the salmon is still a youth also makes this journey significant. Hughes then describes the salmon as "already [being] a veteran". This shows again, not only how the salmon is young, but also how he is similar to a soldier at war. ...read more.

Middle

As he swims further upstream, he is becoming more familiar of his surroundings, his birthplace. Disease is a major theme in this poem. The first major appearance of this theme is in the last line of the seventh stanza: "He hangs there, patched with leper clothes." "He hangs there" shows that he is lifeless and the fact that he is wearing leper-clothes show you that he has suffered wounds or damage and he is some what diseased. Hughes then goes onto talk about a "fungoid anemone of canker". The word canker indicates that the fish is diseased. The harsh sounds in this sentence mimic the rot and disease of the wish with their awkward pronunciation. Hughes then says "Can the caress of water ease him?" This perhaps refers to killing the fish and putting him out of his misery. The long vowels in the word ease are pleasant and this shows how the pain is being taken away from the fish. Hughes then talks about how the "flow will not let up for a minute." This shows how there is no comfort in nature and how the force of nature is unstoppable. ...read more.

Conclusion

We can also see this in the final line, when Hughes talks of the salmon being in the "machinery of heaven". This is also the first time we see human involvement in the poem and contrasts the will of humans and animals. Hughes then describes the death of the salmon in an abrupt manner. He says that is just "how it is". It is very simple and it shows that there is no alternative to the fish. Finally, Hughes contrasts how the salmon felt at the beginning of the poem to how he is now, towards the end of the journey. He says that "this is what is going on there, under the scrubby oak tree, hour after hour". In conclusion, Hughes uses the imagery of nature to show the opulence of the salmon's journey and what he has achieved all to die for nothing. He shows that although the salmon try so hard they can not always make it back to their breeding ground as it is a long and painful journey. Hughes also shows what man I like compared to the salmon. He shows that we are not thoughtful towards other creatures and perhaps how we do not live life to the fullest, like the salmon do. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Other Poets 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 GCSE Other Poets essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Much Ado About Nothing

    4 star(s)

    by Don John into believing Hero had not been faithful the previous night. Claudio reveals his cruel side by making this fact known in public at the wedding, disgracing Hero and her family.

  2. Compare and contrast Williams Wordsworths 'Daffodils with Gillian Clarke' Mroiracle on St David's Day

    In the sixth stanza Clarke uses a metaphor 'the nurses are frozen-alert' she also describes the daffodils in a similar way but instead uses a simile 'the daffodils are still as wax' this creates the tension of waiting to see what the labouring man will do next, the reaction of the nurses and the change of mood in the poem.

  1. Poetry English language

    In this poem Boots, the person is talking to us, so this unknown speaker is speaking in the 3rd person. The soldier in this poem is a foot soldier because he is in the infantry columns, which means that he has to march to wherever his battle zone was.

  2. English Coursework - Diverse Cultures

    They are not even bothered when Curley's wife dies, the men only thought about keeping themselves safe. When people are alone for too long and have no family or friends who love and care for them they 'get mean.' Most of the characters were alone so they became callous.

  1. Compare My Grandmother and Long Distance - Best Words

    with his father and has a good relationship; however, no sign of a relationship is apparent with Jennings and her grandmother. In addition, Jennings also uses words such as "long narrow room" to create a negative imagery of death. This quote has an ambiguous meaning to it, one being the

  2. Comparing Poems from different cultures

    Another example of these calming words is "wild seabirds," when you think of seabirds, you might picture a beautiful coast, where you feel calm and relaxed. In both poems the amount of the use of structure and form is very different, I think that in Island Man, there is lots

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