Ted Hughes Poetry Thought Fox Imagery


Use of Imagery in Ted Hughes Poetry, Thought Fox

Ted Hughes was an English poet who was known for his animal imageries and symbolism. Animal imageries and symbolism are two important components of his poetic style. These two elements are also incorporated by the poem in his poem “Thought Fox” which illustrates the creative process of art in the form of thought. 

Firstly, he incorporates the animal imagery of fox. This imagery is quite significant and holds a deeper meaning. Ted Hughes from his childhood was fascinated by animals as he had spent the initial six years of his life on a farm doing the hunting, fishing, and observing the nature of the animal. He admitted his shamanistic approach towards animals either showing them as benevolent or malevolent spirits. The imagery of “Fox” is significant as it represents a source of guidance in shamanism. The imagery of the fox coming near the poet is in fact the thought that is coming to him. The poet with a blank paper is sitting alone. Suddenly he feels, “Something else is alive”. That “something else” is later described by the poet to be a fox: 

“A Fox’s nose touches, twig, leaf”.

That fox is the thought that is coming to the poet in loneliness and serenity and is leaving prints:

“Sets neat prints into the snow”.

The print through the delicate movement of the fox conveys the thought process of the human mind. As the twentieth century was characterized by movements such as Modernism and post-Modernism which emphasized on individual and working of the human mind, Hughes also in this poem highlights the creative process of producing art.

Secondly, the use of symbolism is quite prominent in this poem. The poet uses certain symbols in this poem to present the notion of the working of the human mind. The poet uses the symbol of “Fox” is used to present “the thought” that is being manifested in the “dark hole” which is the “mind of the poet”.

The poet further explains how the thought just like a fox delicately nets the “forest” (the forest of consciousness) and leaves “prints” that are in fact words on the “snow” which is the “blank paper”. Symbolism as pointed above is one of the major events incorporated by the poet in this poem. 

The poet in this poet had incorporated different images like a fox entering the forest then again a fox leaving prints on the snow and finally the fox entering the hole to present the thought process and working of the human mind. He specifically employed these images and symbolism to ornament his poem and to present the creativity of the human mind. This emphasis on the human mind and the thought process was first laid by Sigmund Freud. Freud in his theory of psychoanalysis presented the working of the human mind by presenting the notions such as Id, Ego, and Superego. Hughes, in the poem also incorporates these three notions and how they illustrate the creative process of thinking. Similarly, Hughes in this poem rejects the Wordsworthian definition of poetry that load emphasis on “the spontaneous overflow of emotions” and presents the view that how loneliness and serenity both are important constituents to construct a creative process in art such as poetry.  


In conclusion, one may say that the prom “Thought Fox” is one of the most significant poems written by Hughes as this poem illustrates the creative process of writing poetry by incorporating different images and symbolism.

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