Analysis of Ted Hughes’s Poem “Wind”

Ted Hughes’s poem, “Wind”, describes the impact and strength nature has over human beings. The poem is written in first person, which emphasizes the idea of a personal experience and suggests that the speaker of the poem is Hughes. The poem is situated away from the cities, presumably in the countryside or in a very isolated place, this can be supported by the use of words like “fields” and “hills”. The setting of the poem is in autumn since the weather is described as being cold and grim. The theme can be interpreted as the fragility of humans when faced against nature and that we aren’t able to control or predict it as we think we are.

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In Hughes’s piece the mood changes. The poem begins with isolation and desolation, whilst at the end we can feel the fear and anxiety of the narrator. Through the six-stanza poem the sounds created, the structure, the literary devices and diction all develop the idea of fragility of humans when faced with the ferocity of the four elements. The sound of the poem is very important in order to fully depict the theme. This is because Hughes decided to use cacophony and alliterations all the way through “Wind” to portray the power of the wind hitting humanity.

The use of cacophony in the third verse, “Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes” the author really accentuates the strength of the storm. Also through the use of hard and harsh sounds like [b], which is a voiced plosive sound, and [k] which is a guttural sound. An excellent example to show an alliteration that has both the [b] and [k] sounds is: “A black back gull bent like an iron bar slowly”. The alliterations highlight once again the power of the wind hitting on the house. The simile on the other hand also portrays the strengths of the gale.

Structure has a very important role in the poem as it compares the poem to the actual qualities of wind. Both the punctuation and the amount of syllables in each line reflect the wind. On the one hand the punctuation captures the movement of the wind since it is not constant and depending on the use of punctuation the author wants to portray certain strength. As an example, when the author uses enjambments the pace increases and it seems as if the wind is blowing harder. On the other hand the amount of syllables are not the same throughout the entire poem like the wind, since it is in continuous change.

Thus the form of this poem marries its content. In overall both the syllables and the punctuation alter the rhythm, which ends up being distorted in the way, the wind is. Therefore the poem reflects the wind since it blows in gusts. Through the use of literary devices the theme of the strength of the wind is also developed. The opening line of the poem is very important, “This house has been far out at sea all night”. The house, which symbolises security, is compared to a boat or a ship in the middle of the sea.

This highlights the fact that the wind is making tremble the house and thus that the wind is able to attack and affect even the place where human recon as being secure. The opening of the poem is very hard since Hughes decides to use only hard and monosyllabic words. This might suggest that the poem is not going to be about happiness. The line “The hills had new places, and wind wielded” contains a hyperbole and a personification which both develop the main theme. The exaggeration, “The hills had new places”, magnifies the power of the wind even further.

On the other hand the personification, “wind wielded”, presumably compares the wind to a soldier thus a threat to humanity. Further on in the poem the writer implies a metaphor comparing a tent to the hills he lives in. “The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope”. This implies that the landscape is not stable anymore due to the strong wind. This furthers again the fact that humans are underestimating the power of nature. Another very affective metaphor the writer uses to develop the theme of the poem is the comparison between the house and a tree. And feel the roots of the house move”. This quote emphasizes the fact that the house, as I said before symbol of security for people, can be easily attacked by nature. The author also makes it very clear that man-made objects are fragile against the force of nature. This is seen specifically in the fifth stanza, “The house rang like some fine green goblet in the note that any second would shatter it”. This emphasizes the fact that the goblet could brake in any second due to the force of the wind.

This is very important because humans usually think that they can control everything but the aim of Hughes is to show them that nature is unpredictable and we are not able to control it. In conclusion Hughes has effectively depicted the fact that humanity is always overpowered by nature, and nature will always be beyond human control. Hughes uses comparative descriptions between humans and nature to stress the dominant factor of nature against humans. Sounds, structure, and literary devices are used constantly throughout the poem, to emphasize and complete the readers understanding about the theme of nature being beyond human control.


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