Conflicting Perspectives - Ted Hughes

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Conflicting perspectives arise when personalities clash, as evident in Ted Hughes' poems 'Your Paris' and 'The Minotaur', and in The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath. These texts demonstrate the influence of egocentric bias on shaping perspectives, and how composers manipulate textual forms and features to shape our understanding of events and personalities. Hughes' publication of 'Birthday Letters' was a challenge against the dominant mythologies which had surrounded his and Plath's relationship ever since her suicide, and a medium through which he presented his own side of the story. Much of the criticism of the time came from feminists and American admirers of Plath, thus he sought to absolve himself of the blame which had been attributed to him for the breakdown and dissolution of their marriage. In 'Your Paris', it is immediately made apparent that Hughes and Plath had antagonistic outlooks even in the early days of their relationship. The cultural clash between "your Paris" of "Street after street, of Impressionist paintings" and "my Paris" of "the Occupation and old nightmare" is reflective of Plath's aestheticised world view and Hughes' post war survivor's context. He admits that his "perspectives were veiled", influenced by his experience of the war, but at the same time, dismisses Plath's "anecdotal aesthetic touch" as a way of protecting herself from reality. Hughes further privileges his own view by utilising animal imagery to characterise himself as "a guide dog, loyal to correct your stumblings", which positions us to sympathise with his faithfulness and patience in dealing with "your agitation and your stone hours". Hughes' tendency to elevate his own perspective is also evident in 'The Minotaur', which is driven by contrary interpretations of an event. As an audience with the advantage of a lack of proximity to this event, we are able to
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