Hsc English: Conflicting Perspectives - Ted Hughes' Poems

982 words 4 pages
The validity of an individual’s perspective on the truth regarding situations, events and personalities throughout their lifetime is subjective.
Conflicting perspectives arise when two individuals experience the same situations, events or personalities, but take meaning from these experiences in opposing ways. Because of these contradictory views, we –as the audience – must challenge our assessment of the truth.
We can do this by analysing the viewpoints presented by Ted Hughes’ confessional poems, The Minotaur and Red from his anthology The Birthday Letters (published 1998) and the feature article, Face of a People Smuggler by Fenella Souter, featured in Good Weekend (April 21, 2012). Through our analysis, we are able to separate fact
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In a journalistic attempt to uncover the truth, Souter questions Al Jenabi’s profits from his people smuggling business, and uses court figures to support her accusations. The Australian court system had found Al Jenabi to be charging an “average of $US2000 per person”, but Al Jenabi “has always denied the accuracy of the estimates” and responds to these accusations by asserting that the most he ever charged was “$1300 for a family” and claims that “not one of the women [on his boats, paid]”.

The use of data adds credibility to Souter’s article, however the uncertainty as to who is telling the truth challenges the reader to call upon their own experiences, causing them to either empathise or condemn Al Jenabi.

Juxtaposing both The Minotaur and The Face of a People Smuggler, is Hughes’ poem Red, in that the poem doesn’t seek to skew the truth for personal benefit, but instead confesses all the feelings Hughes held for Plath without any impediment.

Red aims to personify Plath’s different personalities through the use of the colours red, white and blue. The shifting from colour to colour demonstrates Plath’s duality and is exhibited in the first stanza “Red was your colour, if not red, then white”. The uncertainty as to which colour truly belonged to Plath, expresses her unpredictable nature and ability to change mental states in an instant.

In the last two stanzas of the poem, Hughes consolidates Plath’s confusion as to who she was, and