Use of Animal Imagery in Ted Hughes’ “The Thought Fox”, and “The Jaguar”
Animal imagery was the trademark of Ted Hughes who was very commonly known as an ‘animal poet’. His inspiration to use animal imagery can be traced back to the influence, DH. Lawrence and Shamanism had on him. Hughes believed in the purity of animals. He considered their purity to be the source of their strength and superiority over man. Hughes was fascinated by animals because they achieved a unity of feeling and action by living according to their instincts. By using animal imagery to highlight animals as strong creatures, closer to the natural universe; Hughes portrayed man as limited and distant from natural instincts. Hughes also uses the technique of pathetic fallacy wherein animals are treated as though they are capable of experiencing human feelings, thoughts, and sensations. And in certain poems he uses empathetic power to bring out the feelings of the animals. His themes express the powerful and violent energies of nature (animals) as well as the relationship between these energies and the divided nature of modern man. Seamus Heaney describes Hughes’ poetry with these words,
"racial memory, animal instinct and poetic imagination all flow into one another with an exact sensuousness."
He rooted his poetic works in nature and particularly in the coarseness of animals. Majority of his animal poems explored the relationship between animals and man. Through which he aimed to bring about animals as creatures more rational, powerful and superior to man. Hughes mostly gave the animals in his poems, an aggressive and destructive appearance while also depicting them in a spiritual and supernatural manner. The emphasis of the imagery is mostly on the vitality, energy, violence, and fierceness of the animals. By using these kinds of imagery and symbols he succeeds in creating a...