Birthday Letters Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Birthday Letters Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Innocent girl

One of the common motifs in the poem is the idea that Sylvia was an innocent person who suffered because the world she lived in could not accept her. The author portrays her as being an innocent one in the first and second poem, poems in which he describes the first time he meet Sylvia and also the treatment Sylvia had to endure as a young woman.

Not my fault

Another common motif in the poems is the idea that Ted Hughes is not responsible for Sylvia’s death. On many occasions, he blames everyone and everything for her death, from the doctors who treated her and to her family, but refuses to acknowledge that he may have had something to do with her condition as well.

Symbol for pain

In the poem Life after Death, Ted writes about his children and how they suffered after Sylvia killed herself. To suggest how much his children are suffering, he describes a wound inside his daughter’s chest. The wound in this context is a symbol for the pain the children felt after their mother committed suicide.

Better to be dead

Another motif in the poem is the idea that Ted would rather die than to face the pain of losing Sylvia. He mentions this in the poem Life after Death where he compares himself with a person being hanged, suggesting thus the pain he feels as a result of losing his wife.

The wolves

In the last poem, the author describes the wolves that surround his house and howl during the night. The wolves are used here as a symbol to make reference to the loneliness he experiences after Sylvia’s death and also to suggest how his household cannot escape this feeling.

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