Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Ted HughesÃ¢â¬â¢s Pike versus Sylvia PlathÃ¢â¬â¢s Mirror Essay -- Ted Hughes Syl
HughesÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"Pike,Ã¢â¬ PlathÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"MirrorÃ¢â¬ Abstract: Sylvia PlathÃ¢â¬â¢s 1961 poem Ã¢â¬Å"MirrorÃ¢â¬ can be read as a rejoinder to Ted HughesÃ¢â¬â¢s 1958 poem Ã¢â¬Å"Pike.Ã¢â¬ Plath shrinks her husbandÃ¢â¬â¢s mythic grandeur to reveal a psychodrama of the self as a vanishing faÃ §ade. Sylvia PlathÃ¢â¬â¢s 1961 poem "Mirror" builds up to the appearance of a terrible fish, an internalized counterpart of the watching consciousness under the dark pond of Ted Hughes's 1958 poem "Pike." Whereas Hughes's poem evokes the spirit of the place and the genetic residue of England's violent past, a version perhaps of Clarence's dream of the sea of fish-eaten victims of the Wars of the Roses in Shakespeare's history play Richard III, and the sunless sea from where ancestral voices prophecy war in ColeridgeÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"Ã¢â¬ Kubla Khan,Ã¢â¬ Plath's "Mirror" narrates a lifetime of interactions with a nameless, faceless woman and imagines aging as disfigurement. In HughesÃ¢â¬â¢s poem, pike are both weapons (cf. a Ã¢â¬Å"pikeÃ¢â¬ as an instrument of warfare) and vital presences in the physical world that provide inspiration for his poetic vocation. In PlathÃ¢â¬â¢s poem, a fish resides in the mirror, a monstrous figuration of coming to recognize oneself as an aging, vanishing faÃ §ade. The poet speaks through the voice of her mirror. Exploring timeless, primitive, ruthless fish, Ã¢â¬Å"PikeÃ¢â¬ chronicles a series of vignettes that, observes Matthew Fisher, begin in plain diction, giving an objective, scientific description: Ã¢â¬Å"Pike, three inches long, perfect/ Pike in all parts, green tigering the gold.Ã¢â¬ The word Ã¢â¬Å"tigeringÃ¢â¬ in the second line, pace Fisher, perhaps evokes William BlakeÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"Tiger, tiger, burning bright/In the forest of the night,Ã¢â¬ an image of the destructive, devouring element of Creation. The green and go... ...HughesÃ¢â¬â¢s Pike,Ã¢â¬ Explicator 47:4 (Summer 1989): 58-59. Freud, Sigmund. (1919) Ã¢â¬Å"The Ã¢â¬ËUncannyÃ¢â¬â¢,Ã¢â¬ trans. James Strachey, Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, ed. James Strachey (London: Hogarth, 1955), XVII: 218-252. Hughes, Ted. Collected Poems, ed. Paul Keegan (London: Faber, 2004). Hughes, Ted. Letter to Leonard and Esther Baskin, January 1959 (London: British Library manuscripts). Hughes, Ted, ed. Sylvia Plath, Collected Poems (New York: HarperPerennial 1982). Keegan, Paul, ed., Ted Hughes, Collected Poems (London: Faber, 2004). Plath, Sylvia. Collected Poems, ed. Ted Hughes (New York: 1982). La Belle, Jenijoy. Herself Beheld: The Literature of the Looking Glass (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988). Porter, David, Ã¢â¬Å"Beasts/Shamans/Baskin: The Contemporary Aesthetics of Ted Hughes,Ã¢â¬ Boston Review 22 (Fall 1974): 13-25.