Compare and Contrast the position of speaker in "That Morning" and "Thought Fox."

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Ted Hughes’ poems “That Morning” and “The Thought Fox” share some similarities in terms of the content their speakers describe—focusing on natural imagery and animals—but the position of the speaker in relation to nature differs in each.

“That Morning” is written in the first person plural voice, so the...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Ted Hughes’ poems “That Morning” and “The Thought Fox” share some similarities in terms of the content their speakers describe—focusing on natural imagery and animals—but the position of the speaker in relation to nature differs in each.

“That Morning” is written in the first person plural voice, so the speaker uses the pronoun “we.” The speaker describes a memory, presenting the poem in the past tense: “We came where the salmon were so many…” Hughes’ poem has the speaker appear in the midst of nature, quite literally:

Waist-deep in wild salmon swaying massed
As from the hand of God.

Standing in the river, with the salmon all around, the speaker seems to have become one with nature. This is echoed toward the end of the poem, when the speaker sees bears who “swam like men” and “dived like children” enter the river as well to eat salmon. The similarity of the bears and the speaker emphasize the connection to nature. In the end, they are all "we":

So we found the end of our journey.

So we stood, alive in the river of light,
Among the creatures of light, creatures of light.

“The Thought Fox,” on the other hand, is written in the first person singular voice (using the pronoun “I”), and utilizes the present tense. This puts a much greater emphasis on the event of the speaker observing nature rather than being a part of if. This point of view is emphasized in several ways. First, the speaker is looking out “Through the window” onto nature. Looking at something outside, through the frame of the window, underscores the distance between the speaker and the fox that it observes. There is also a meta level to this poem—it self-reflexively mentions the act of writing, through the speaker’s reference to “this blank page where my fingers move." The speaker describes the fox outside using sensory details—sight and smell—but in the end, the poem turns attention back to the speaker inside, alone, writing:

The window is starless still; the clock ticks,

The page is printed.

Unlike “That Morning,” when the speaker seems united with nature, “The Thought Fox” emphasizes the separation of the speaker and nature.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team