Birthday Letters

Comparative Analysis of the poems "The Horses" and "The Thought Fox" College

In Hughes’s poetry, “racial memory, animal instinct and poetic imagination all flow into one another with an exact sensuousness” - Seamus Heaney

“The Horses” and “The Thought-Fox” are two of Hughes’s most powerfully symbolic poems, introducing the author's extensive examination of the rational actions of humans as compared to the instinctual actions of animals. It is true that the dominating impression that these poems leave with a reader is a sense of the vigor and frequently violent energies of both the non-human world and the inner world of man’s own emotions.

To begin with, the very titles of both the poems deal with two different animals having various significant symbolic implications and connotations. It is very interesting to note that Hughes has chosen a Fox to illustrate his idea of creativity. Fox is a crafty animal, very mischievous, very slippery, not to be trapped or caught easily. Being a symbol of deception and cleverness, it would always try to hoodwink the hunters and other animals. It is somewhat subtle and elusive. Very intelligently, this image of Fox hints at the process of hitting upon an idea or getting a sudden interesting thought or more precisely, the art of creation of poetry which is also elusive...

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