Robbing Myself Essay, Research Paper
When you read the writings of Hughes in Birthday Letters there is a sense of the depth of the immense grieving and pain underlying each word and meaning. Disguised in his poetry, these reminiscing situations bring the story behind them to light in a maze of metaphors exposing the years of thoughts held back by a inner dam of media martyrdom and regrets in Hughes. In The Minotaur and Robbing Myself the poet reveals times and lives where he once lived along side his star crossed love, Sylvia Plath.
The Minotaur. In this poem Hughes delves into the darker sides of Plath, where fits of rage overtook her and depression and pain ruled over her, her anger, and a raging bull, more, a monster existed. It begins with a description of the victims of Plath- a table with nostalgic value, a symbol of his past, and being “mapped with he scars of his whole life”- symbolic of his life, person, and mistakes and pains. She destroys a chair for his being late to care for the children. This could mean that the cause of her anger was his detachment form his children, maybe a detail to emphasize the insanity and reasonless of her rages.
“”Marvelous!” I shouted. “Go on, smash it into kindling. That’s the stuff you’re keeping out of your poems.” Hughes tells Plath to take her emotions and put them in poems, he makes the positive out of this rage. He encouraged her to think about things, to get in touch with her emotions as one inevitably does when writing.
“Deep in the cave of you ear The goblin Snapped his fingers. So what had I given him?” Hughes reconsiders the results of his encouragement and wonders if letting the gates open let loose the lion, let the demons surface.
Here the poem and the poet’s life take a dark turn. “The bloody end of the skein”, the noose that ended her life, that brought the climax that left these words in their wake, “That unraveled your marriage,” and breached the bond that made them, “Left you children echoing”, for their is no response from a void where a life once stood for her spawn.
Hughes writes his apology to her mother for leaving her a dead end, and talks of her father, who as the Minotaur she had replaced, now filled his grave.
Robbing Myself. Hughes begins the poem by detailing the cold; the environment symbolizing the lack of life and of emotional emptiness lived. The worst weather, the worst situation, like in much literature the weather reflects personal turmoil. “Fallen Heaven”- referring to the fallen snow and his own fallen heaven, the loss of his hove in live; for that is truly what heaven is, our hope for an uncertain future.
He comes to the house in this metaphorical cold and begins to unearth, to harvest his potatoes, like he was to reap the bounty of the life he had sowed with Sylvia. These were his future hopes metaphorically, “the eggs of my coming year”, “little earthen embryos”. Hughes details the earthbound symbols with a personified touch as if they were children. “Plump litter”, “Secret family”, “little fists”, “Frowning brows”.
He goes on to tell of his other planted hopes, his apples, still hardy from summers sowing. And he harvests these for Sylvia, for she was a live never harvested and this is making amends. He examines others; and though they seem fine, like Sylvia, they were freezing to death.
Hughes enters the house, experiencing the lack of her therein. Still the recurring theme of a cold environment, both physically and emotionally, is restated. The crimson chamber, a place where anger, blood, death was dealt. The details of the house, the things that were held as possessions to them are reviewed. Yet again crimson is bold in the blue coldness of the world, and holds meaning to the house. He talks of the house being like an unborn baby, both full of potential but useless as is.
The house gained memories with the last times there, good and bad. It gained the attributes of casket in its tidy-ness. The windows glowed in the bleak cold, maybe meaning that it was a dark place inside the house; maybe a reference to the sun setting at the church; the symbolic moment for death and the disappearance of light from Earth.
Hughes seals himself from the house.
He looks upon this, as into a casket to see inside the life contained, but to no avail for he had “already lost the treasure”.
These poems reflect and relieve the live of Hughes and his relations to Plath, from their beginning to her end. The Minotaur and Robbing Myself expose the feelings held back for these long years, in intricate detail and meaning spelling out the lives between.
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