MaimoonaAzam, HumairaMasood, Maryam Irshad, AmenahQureshi, HasanaShabbirMs. AsmaMansoorPost-war Literature31 May 2013Ted Hughes‟ conception of Nature is marked by a recognition of violenceand aggression that corresponds with the general mood of his age. Discuss.The poetry of the modern age is still, somewhat „romantic‟ in its essence as it takes aninsight into the issues of humanity on individual basis and judge the human condition with apersonal interest and subjectivity. Ted Hughes is one of the poets who is sensitive to the „poet‟srole in the society‟. His works however, do this job in a subtle manner, with animal scenario onthe surface while human dilemmas below the skin(Dodsworth, 281). The post-war age, of whichhe was a product, was marked by faithlessness, despair, anguish of nothingness and aimlessness.All these traits contributed in embedding an aggression and violence in the heart of the commonman.Ted Hughes poetry highlights modern man‟s fragmented and isolated nature and hissubsequent alienation from the natural world. The basic aim of his poetry is to integrate the lostessence of nature in man‟s distorted life. Hughes poetry hints on modern aspects of life it givesimportance to the problem of man‟s sense of superfluity. He laments on modern man‟s inabilityto use his natural instincts. Hughes is of the opinion that due to the presence of cultural crisis,man has lost his mooring and bearing in nature.
Hughes major poetic work is based on nature and myth. His obsessions linger on animals,their energies and the darker side of their nature that is filled with violence and aggression.Hughes skillfully incorporates these energies of nature in man‟s world. His poetic mission aimsat exorcising the evil of self-consciousness that is at the bottom of all fractured souls. HereHughes takes an attire of an inspired visionary and his poems takes a new dimension ofmysticism.Hughes celebration of animal life affirms the importance of man‟s relation withlandscape. Hughes view the modern aspect of life and comments that modern man has discardhis world of imagination and basic instincts at the cost of his own existence. Moreover heconfirms that man‟s slavery to modern science and technology is the fundamental drawbackwhich results in his alienation to natural world. Hughes beholds animal life which is distinctfrom the life of human civilization. Hughes‟ animal poems serve as a liberal force from therepressed aggressive nature of man which is created by the society itself.Hughes poetry comprehends nonhuman life of flora and fauna in a setting of weather andlandscape. In all his poems Hughes assumes himself as a perceiver conditioning terrifyingqualities to nature. The tone in his poems is that of an omniscient narrator that gives a sense ofsupremacy and subjectivity. In his poems animals act as a metaphor for his views of life. Theinnocent savagery and bestial nature of animals reflects the conflict between violence andtenderness the manners prevalent in human world for which human beings strive for ascendencyand success.Animals in Hughes poems have been adorned with various roles like human beings havein real world. They strive for the survival of the fittest; they also express their royal nature and
supremacy over other animals. More often they act as an inspiration in the mind of a poet towrite a creative artifact. All these animals have a distinct feature in them that makes them moreattractive to the readers mind. They have a trickster nature like crow; they are cunning like fox,kingly like hawk and ferocious like pike.Hughes‟ poem “The Thought fox” is a creative journey of writing a poem. In his poem,Hughes has used his imagistic vision, and blended it with personal consciousness “a psycho-psychological process of imaginative projection” (Fass, p.60) to summon a fox. The foxmetaphorically stands for the inspiration, for the poet whose thoughts is initially elusive andcannot be captured in a single sheet of paper. Hughes has established a contact between natureand man; he has juxtaposed the physical land scape with the psychological ecology of the poet‟smind.Pike is a self-explanatory title in itself. The poem celebrates the merciless nature of thisfish which is „killer from the egg‟. This fish, since old times, is waiting for its prey. As it rose„slowly‟ „watching‟ the poet, it charged him for the crime of criticizing it before looking athimself. Its accusing eye ignites guilt in Man for being mercilessly violent against Nature whenhe was not even designed to do so. On the other hand, he condemns the deadly nature of Pikewhich is inherent and necessary for its survival. Pike seems to be in a competition of predationwith Man. Since it is the post-war age, the world has witnessed the extreme bestiality on part ofHuman. He is no less in instilling „horror‟ as this creature. Like Pike does not even stop to killone of its own fellows for its needs, Man is no less good. Hughes, under the cover, is actuallyseverely mocking the so-called civilized, modern man. In playing the Pike‟s advocate, Hughesrests his case against Man of his time and leaves a room for reflection.
Most of the Hughes‟ poetry is considered violent. He celebrates the bestial ugliness of thenature abolishing the Romantic themes of pantheism and nature as a healer. His works reveal the„manifold potentials of violence‟ rooted in human race. Although the natural environment isalien to the „contemporary urbanized society‟, the humanity, „at heart is as primitive, primal andpredatory, as anything in that environment‟(Holloway, 97).
Works CitedHolloway, John. The literary scene.The New Pelican Guide to English Literature.Vol.8. BorisFord, ed. London.Penguin Books. 1983. PrintDodsworth, Martin. Ted Hughes and Geoffrey Hill.The New Pelican Guide to EnglishLiterature.Vol.8. Boris Ford, ed. London.Penguin Books. 1983. PrintHughes, Ted. Crow: From the Life and Songs of a crow. London, Faber. 1970. Printwww.poemhunter.com/ted-hughes/bioghraphy