Alder UP 3 - Laura Alder Lovesong by Ted Hughes describes a...

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Laura Alder “Lovesong” by Ted Hughes describes a passionate sexual relationship between two people. In the poem, Hughes utilizes metaphors, word choice, and repetition to capture the bipolar nature, sheer force, and ultimate violence of the lover’s physical and emotional experience. The poem quickly switches between depicting a passionate, intimate relationship and an unhealthy, violent, one. Ultimately, the relationship is shown to be tragic. Literary critics of the poem unanimously agree with this interpretation of a dark, nightmarish relationship. Hughes’ metaphors of the lovers’ behaviors are most illuminating to this theme of violence and force. He compares innocuous exchanges such as words, laughs, looks, and whispers to “occupying armies,” “assassin's attempts,” “bullets daggers of revenge,” “whips and jackboots,” and “a great trap.” Hughes’ deployment of action verbs also greatly contributes to the theme of violence. Such verbs as “sucked”, “nailed”, “gripped” and “dragged” add to the subversive undercurrent. By including such a wide array of descriptors, Hughes is insinuating that the relationship is violent on several fronts. In so doing, he makes his case for violence more compelling. Each of the words resonates differently, yet intensely, on the violence spectrum. Indeed, Bentley describes "the pathological violence of its language, its anti-human ideas, and its sadistic imagery." He is not only describing “Lovesong,” but also all the poems included in Hughes’ Crow compilation. As the metaphors exemplify, there is a strong anti-human motif occurring, resulting in “a somewhat inhuman, even brutal book” (Bentle y). In “Lovesong,” the two persons are likened to weapons and tools of war, dehumanizing the lovers and their actions. They are also compared to animals, “their deep cries crawled to the floor the floors…like an animal dragging a great trap.” There is a dehumanization occurring, their bodies acting out their own roles in this wretched encounter.
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Furthermore, Bentley notes the poems’ function is attempting to describe a potentially debilitating "encounter with despair.” He further insinuates that this encounter is representative of Hughes’ marriage to Sylvia Plath. His marriage was infamous for its volatility, irritability and moodiness, as surmised from Bentley’s description of their ill-fated union, which ultimately ended with Plath committing ed suicide. Yet, in the midst of this invocation of violence, Hughes’ word choice includes many
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Alder UP 3 - Laura Alder Lovesong by Ted Hughes describes a...

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