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Ted Hughes' Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow

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Social Issues and Creation Stories in Ted Hughes' Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow

    There are many mythological stories that exist in this age.  Within these different myths, there are many answers to how our world was created.  Yet, one must become open-minded to other myths that do not necessarily discuss creation; Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow can be seen to fall into this category.  This collection of Ted Hughes' poetry is intertwined with social issues and creation stories.  Throughout this collection, the poems not only involve Classical and Christian related ideas they also include several twentieth century advancements.

      The myths that Hughes creates have the central character as the crow.  In the book Myth in the Poetry of Ted Hughes, Hirschberg gives a brief statement of how crows are viewed in different mythologies, "In folk mythology the crow is an animal figure predominantly associated with the twin motifs of death and guilt, a stark figure who embodies boldness, intelligence, adaptability to change and a twisted vitality" (126).  This description is widely evident throughout Ted Hughes' collection.  Crow goes through many phases and meditations.  Among the topics found in Crow  are views of religion, human actions, and destruction.

      Throughout Crow, there are many references to Christianity.  Yet, in each poem that includes this topic, the original stories are altered to give a new style of myth.  "A Childish Prank" is one of the poems that Hughes begins altering the original biblical references.

      "A Childish Prank" is a poem about a malicious trick that Crow plays on Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.  This poem is about Adam and Eve l...

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...en though we hear ideas from different sources, we must still make our own interpretations. Crow is a great mythology that has unique parallels with society and human struggles.  A mythology is meant to relate to people, and give them warnings and answers.  Through looking at the religious, emotional, and destructive implications in the collection, we see that it is a mythology; thus, if we are open-minded enough to study and accept other mythologies, why not accept the life, songs, and philosophy of Crow as well?

Works Cited

Hirschberg, Stuart.  Myth in the Poetry of Ted Hughes: A guide to the poems .  Totowa, New Jersey: Barnes and Noble, 1981.

Hughes, Ted.  Crow:  From the Life and Songs of the Crow.  New York:  Harper and Row, 1971.

Scigaj, Leonard M.  The Poetry of Ted Hughes:  Form and Imagination.  Iowa City, Iowa: U of Iowa P, 1986.

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