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How would I add the rhyming scheme to a summary about "The Thought-Fox"?  

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user8106270 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 27, 2013 at 10:23 AM via web

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How would I add the rhyming scheme to a summary about "The Thought-Fox"?

 

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gojsawyer | Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:43 AM (Answer #1)

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“The Thought-Fox,” by Ted Hughes, is critically well regarded due to the author’s tight, skilled control of language, metaphor and imagery in such lines as “I imagine this midnight moment's forest.” This first line of the poem seems to evoke a feeling that the narrator (“I”) is awake at a late hour contemplating or observing something significant that will be described as the poem continues.

Following the first line, the rhyme scheme is a part of the strengths of the poem, particularly relative to imagery. The poem is organized into six stanzas of four lines each. To figure out the rhyming scheme, look at the last word of each line and assign 1) the same capital letter to each rhyming sound that is the same and 2) a different capital letter to each rhyming sound that is different, beginning with the letter “A.”

For example:

First stanza, end words, rhyme scheme:

forest/alive/loneliness/move: ABCD

Second stanza, end words, rhyme scheme

star/near/darkness/loneliness: EEFF

As might be observed, analyzing a rhyme scheme can get a little tricky with 20th century poetry because it does not conform as neatly and, many would argue, as strictly, to rhyme schemes as did poetry of the past. In this poem as well as that of writers that were contemporaries of Hughes, if a formal rhyme scheme was utilized at all, it may have broken with previous rhyming conventions in some significant way that rendered the style of the poem not quite free verse but not quite formal, either. This can be observed in “The Thought-Fox” in the rhyme schemes of the first and second stanzas by the fact that the word “loneliness” is repeated.  As such, another way to analyze the rhyme scheme would be:

First stanza, end words, rhyme scheme:

forest/alive/loneliness/move: ABCD

Second stanza, end words, rhyme scheme

star/near/darkness/loneliness: EECC

The ambiguity of which rhyme scheme to choose lends itself to choices in interpreting the poem, specifically with regard to the meaning of the end word of each stanza. For example, if the word “loneliness” connotes something different in each stanza, the first rhyme scheme (ABCD) lends itself to such an interpretation. Yet, if it connotes the same thing in each stanza, the second rhyme scheme (EECC) supports that analysis.

As such, when writing a summary of the poem, it will be helpful to read it several times to decide upon an analysis or interpretation relative to language, metaphor and imagery. Write down an initial rhyme scheme for all six stanzas, keeping in mind that it might change. Then, determine which decision relative to rhyme scheme best supports the thesis of the summary. There is probably not a right or wrong answer per se, as long as the final, written summary is supported by a close reading of the text. Best wishes!

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