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Thistles by Ted Hughes. Question: Critically analyse the poem

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Thistles by Ted Hughes Question: Critically analyse the poem, paying attention to diction & imagery, showing how they are effective in describing thistles. P : Thistles are described as if they were nature's avengers. Q : Thistles 'spike' 'Against the rubber tongues of cows and the hoeing hands of man & '...a revengeful burs of resurrection' R : Thistles inflict pain towards 'the hoeing hands of men' which gives readers the spa image of men destroying the plants in the soil with a hoe, perhaps for the unnecessary need for urbanization and other recreational purposes. It seems that the thistles are punishing man for destroying nature. Even though the 'cows' mentioned somewhat destroy plants, or to be specific, grass for it is their staple food, they seem to not be a part of the ones punished for their rubber tongues' gives the image of a lifeless tongue where it does not feel pain, having the qualities of rubber- lifeless and feeling nothing. Hence, the thistles are described as avengers for those who abuse and destroy nature for unnecessary wants. It seems as if avenging is the purpose of the thistles' existence and for their resurrection- the phrase 'a revengeful burst of resurrection seems to give the image of revenge, powering the process of resurrecting the thistles. ...read more.


These thistledowns could be sharp, being like space'splintered weapons' and could be the part that spike 'the rubber tongues of cows spaceand hoeing hands of men'. One can imagine the image of the thistledowns getting spacestiff and ready to spike ('Icelandic frost thrust up'). These thistledowns have spacesimilarities to that of a Viking's 'pale hair' and 'the gutturals of dialects' are like spacethe whizzing sound thistles make as they disperse through the air, trying to find spacevictims or their prey to spike them for blood. Hence, it seems that the evil nature spaceand the physical appearance of Vikings are being passed down to thistles perhaps as spacethey absorb the essence of dead Vikings which is represented by the word 'stain' spacethat could of blood. Afterall, it is believed that one would posses the characteristics spaceof whose essence they have absorbed into themselves. In addition to the mentioned spacecharacteristics passed down, the predatory nature of Vikings is similar to that of spacethistles for both is bloodthirsty, 'a plume of blood' being the goal in life. P : Thistles are also endlessly revengeful Q : 'Every one a revengeful burst / Of resurrection' & 'Their sons appear / Stiff with spaceweapons, fighting back over the same ground'. ...read more.


On the other hand, it could mean that they spaceplague the air and sort of poison the cheerful summer air with pain that is delivered spaceas they 'manage a plume of blood'. Thistles bother animals even when they are spaceeating (cows) as suggested by the line 'Against the rubber tongues of cows' and spacethistles disrupts men's work by poking them as they work as suggested by the line space 'Against...the hoeing hands of men'. It is not only those alive that are being spacebothered. Ancient 'decayed Viking' in the 'underground' are also being fed on, as spacesuggested by the word 'stain' which gives us the impression of a bloodstain, in the spaceline 'From the underground stain of a decayed Viking'. It is almost a parasite-like spacebehavior for the thistles seem to be taking blood from animals, man and even spacecompose, which makes them a nuisance for they rob away peace- imagine thistles spacespiking you every moment when you are trying to enjoy the 'summer air'. In spaceaddition to that, the fact that thistles are being produced after their "forefathers" spacehave served their purpose (in obtaining 'a plume of blood' each) let us see thistles spacein the light where they appear to be irksome in the sense that they do not stop spacebothering and disturbing. ...read more.

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