S-Cool Revision Summary
S-Cool Revision Summary
Work and Play contrasts the world of the swallow with that of people.
It is also about our ideas of what 'work' and 'play' mean, and our values.
Hughes' attitude is expressed by the tone of the poem.
Hughes praises and celebrates the swallow, whilst criticising the people. He dislikes the ugliness and stupidity of the people, who seem alien and a pollutant in the natural world. Hughes sees the swallow as the perfect expression of the beauty and harmony of nature.
Hughes main device is contrast. Contrasts run through the poem, in each stanza the swallow ad people are compared.
Hughes uses a lot of metaphors, and sensual imagery. We see 'nude as tomatoes', hear 'screech', taste 'grit', smell 'Inhaling petroleum', and touch 'jab' the action of the poem.
The varying rhythm and line length help to create the contrast
Hughes personifies a hawk. He describes it as a survivor and a killer. He compares the hawk's freedom to act on instinct with the way we are ruled by thoughts, arguments and regulations.
The hawks' attitude is arrogant; its tone is menacing, confident, absolute, and boastful. The hawk sees itself as like a king, or a god or an executioner.
Hughes's attitude is more difficult to tell. He leaves the poem open for the reader to decide on how to react to this fierce spirit. Could we just laugh as the small hawk's grand deluded view of itself?
Almost every image refers to the hawk's control and confidence. Everything revolves around the hawk. Look at the number of times 'I', 'me' or 'my' is used.
There are lots of short, factual sounding statements in the poem, and a lot of full stops.
These help to convey the bird's certainty.
The poem is about how extreme weather can make even modern man feel frightened and vulnerable and part of the natural environment.
The wind may be a metaphor for the power of creativity.
The wind is frightening, but the tone of the poem is one full of excitement, awe, and anticipation.
Hughes isn't criticising the wind. Although perhaps he is a criticising human for forgetting how powerful nature can be.
The poem is packed with sensual imagery, metaphor, simile, and personification. Every line has a strong, vivid image in it.
The form of the poem, the fluid lines and stanzas matches the way the wind moves the landscape.
The poem is about a real life incident when Hughes had to rescue a tractor. It tells us about what farmers have to put up with, and manages to make the British weather sound powerful and dangerous.
The poet suffers a lot of pain in this poem and vents some frustration and anger on the 'stupidity' of the tractor.
But the end of the poem appears celebratory. The rescue of the tractor has been quite an adventure, a great achievement. The last line suggests the range of emotions the poet feels, but ends with elation.
Hughes uses many of his favourite devices. The poem is brimming with sensual imagery and figurative language.
Again Hughes a change in the form at the end of the poem for dramatic purposes, and to suggest a change in feelings.
The poem is about how nature adapts easily to adverse weather, and about how man suffers in it. Presumably the farmer is on a 'spit' because he is worrying about his cattle or crops, and is powerless to help them.
The tone of the poem seems to be one of gentle wonder. The images of the animals are all of comfort and warmth. And even the potentially grotesque image of the tortured farmers seems rather comic.
Hughes mainly shows us his talent for thinking of fresh and arresting similes in this poem.
But as in all the poems he also employs metaphor and personification.
Once again he cleverly adapts his form to underscore the ideas in the poem.