- Term Papers and Free Essays

Thistles" And "Tall Nettles

Essay by   •  April 8, 2011  •  721 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,159 Views

Essay Preview: Thistles" And "Tall Nettles

Report this essay
Page 1 of 3

The poems "Tall Nettles" by Edward Thomas and "Thistles" by Ted Hughes contain similar yet different themes. Both of them contain not one but many themes of their own.

"The Tall Nettles" contains a theme of abandonment, a theme of nature fighting back against man, and man-made objects, as well as the theme of "inner beauty" i.e., beauty that is not obvious to the eye. The poet is showing that the plant is fierce, yet protective over a place that "belongs" to them, simply because no one else wants it. It portrays how the nettles have triumphed over man by covering the machines. Thomas shows this conquest over man in a positive light. It portrays the nettles as beautiful, yet they are not aesthetically pleasing. This seems to show that Thomas sees the "inner beauty" of the nettles; he portrays their resilience and strength.

"Thistles" also contains the theme of nature fighting back against man as well as the theme of survival. Unlike in the previous poem, the thistles are fighting over land which is still desired by man. Hughes, unlike Thomas, portrays these battles in a negative light, and seems to portray the plants as the enemy. This poem is a lot more violent than the previous one, as it actually portrays the epic battle that the thistles fight to survive.

Both these poems portray themes of nature fighting against man, and survival.

Analysis of "Thistles"

"Thistles" is a poem about survival and triumph. It portrays how thistles have to fight to stay alive, but they in fact conquer over their aggressors. In order to fully understand this one must analyze the poem stanza by stanza.

In stanza 1 the very first word, "Against", gives us the first clue to the plight of the thistle. It has many things which are "against" it, such as the "rubber tongues of cows" and the "hoeing hands of men". The fact that the "hoeing hands of men" is used as an example of one of the thistles enemies, is ironic, because even though the men have hoes and mean to destroy, the thistle's still survive. The use of "spike" in line 2 gives us a sharp, jagged image of artillery. "Crackle" in line 3 gives us this same effect. These war-like images are continued throughout the poem. The use of the word "crackle" gives us the idea that the thistle is tough, not gently opening, but crackling open, as if preparing for battle.

In stanza two the poet introduces the idea of revenge. ("Every one a revengeful burst") The poet



Download as:   txt (4.1 Kb)   pdf (68 Kb)   docx (10 Kb)  
Continue for 2 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2011, 04). Thistles" And "Tall Nettles. Retrieved 04, 2011, from

"Thistles" And "Tall Nettles" 04 2011. 2011. 04 2011 <>.

"Thistles" And "Tall Nettles.", 04 2011. Web. 04 2011. <>.

"Thistles" And "Tall Nettles." 04, 2011. Accessed 04, 2011.