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Compare and contrast Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath’s use of language and imagery in their poems ‘Roe Deer’, ‘Mirror’ and ‘Blackberrying’

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Introduction

Compare and contrast Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath's use of language and imagery in their poems 'Roe Deer', 'Mirror' and 'Blackberrying' In this essay my aim is to compare the three poems 'Blackberrying' and 'Mirror' by Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes' 'Roe Deer'. I will mainly be focusing on the poets' use of language and imagery in the poems. In addition to this I will discuss how they transform the ordinary into quite magical objects and surroundings. The first thing that stands out from all the poems is the fact that none of the three use any rhyme scheme, I think that this is because a rhyme scheme would ruin the effect of the poems. A regular rhyme scheme would alter the pace of the poems, as these are very deep and reflective poems. The stanzaic structure of the poems is quite similar in 'Blackberrying' and 'Mirror' both have regular stanzaic structures however in Ted Hughes' 'Roe Deer' the stanzas are much shorter and are irregular. In 'Roe Deer' Hughes leaves one line on its own, separate from the other stanzas; 'The Deer had come for me'- I think Hughes leaves this line separately because it is a turning point in the poem, he is so absorbed into the vision of the deer that he thinks he is a about to enter their world, he wants to believe that he is the chosen one and the deer have come to take him away. ...read more.

Middle

I think the sparse use of similes and metaphors is because Hughes realises that the deer already have such and overpowering magical presence that there is no use in comparing the deer to anything else, but only describing them as they are. In 'Blackberrying' the use of similes and metaphors is more common. The first simile we come across is in the line; 'Blackberries big as the ball of my thumb, and dumb as eyes'. Here there is a literal description of them being very rounded black and juicy blackberries, she then compares them to the pupils of eyes as they blankly stare at her. An interesting metaphor in 'Blackberrying' is in the line, 'These they squander on my fingers. I had not asked for such a blood sister hood'. It is as if the juice from the blackberries is their blood, almost as if they are sacrificing it. It then goes on to describe her as she imagines them inviting her into their sorority. She has pricked her fingers on the thorns of blackberries- when her blood mixes with the juices of the blackberries it is as if she has been blood bonded into their sorority, yet she has not asked for this- unlike in 'Roe Deer' where the figure in the poems desperately wants to be a part of the deer's world, even though he knows he cannot be. ...read more.

Conclusion

The mirror is quite an arrogant character; 'I am important to her'- this raises the issue that society judges women on the basis of being youthful and attractive, the mirror's arrogance is quite ironic because although the mirror believes itself to be important to the woman, it is in fact the other way around. It is the woman that is important to the mirror, because without her the mirror has no other function or purpose. I think that mirror tells the sad tale of aging, and as the woman sees herself physically deteriorate more and more each day, she becomes emotionally more and more depressed. In 'Roe Deer' the mood of the poem has a more enchanting mood and atmosphere because of the dreamy snow covered landscape, where as in 'Blackberrying' the mood is more sombre. When I read the poem it opened me up to my own experiences of loneliness and isolation, but in 'Mirror' I didn't or couldn't fully relate to it, as it told the story of an aging woman trying to struggle with the reality that she faced, and I am a teenage boy. I think all three poems open up the emotions of the readers- in 'Roe Deer', the man begins to become enchanted with the natural world of the deer; In 'Mirror' begins to open up to the reality of the passing of time, and in 'Blackberrying, the woman's loneliness is finally exposed, reflected in the harsh elements at the end of the poem; 'Din of silversmiths'. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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