What is the central message Ted Hughes is trying to convey in his poem "Full Moon and Little Frieda"?Full Moon and Little Frieda by Ted Hughes A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the...

What is the central message Ted Hughes is trying to convey in his poem "Full Moon and Little Frieda"?

Full Moon and Little Frieda by Ted Hughes

A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket -
And you listening.
A spider's web, tense for the dew's touch.
A pail lifted, still and brimming - mirror
To tempt a first star to a tremor.

Cows are going home in the lane there, looping the hedges with their warm
wreaths of breath -
A dark river of blood, many boulders,
Balancing unspilled milk.
'Moon!' you cry suddenly, 'Moon! Moon!'

The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work
That points at him amazed.

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kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

The central message in Ted Hughes' poem "Full Moon and Little Frieda" has to do with perspective and the wonder of amazement. It opens with Hughes taking the reader on a tour through a darkened country evening with "Little Frieda." It is important to note that the country evening does not suffer from the benefit of artificial light--all is seen, or not seen, through the starlight of a dark evening.

Hughes tells us, from Little Frieda's perspective or focal point, that the evening has "shrunken" in the vision-restricting evening darkness to a few random sounds: "a dog bark," "the clank of a bucket." Hughes then locates the time by indicating that, though dark, it is still too early for the dew to have fallen: "A spider's web, tense for the dew's touch." He then describes the sky by having it reflected with a tremor caused by the water's motion in a pail of water fetched by Little Frieda (the same pail that provided the "clank of a bucket" earlier). Having set the scene, Hughes further defines the time of evening and, in conjunction, the time of year (autumn with early evening dark) by introducing the evening odyssey of the cows returning from the field to the barn.

Then Little Frieda--whom we know has not stayed up until late at night--sees the moon. Hughes personifies the moon in order to wonder in amazement through the moon's perspective that the simple elements of life are amazing works of art, a perspective rarely heard by post-World War II poets, by the way. He ends by suggesting the message that the moon's wonder at the amazing work of art of simple human life mirrors the wonder of people at the amazing work of art that is the moon. Thus Hughes develops the message of wonderment at simple human life around a metaphor comparing the wonder of simple, uncomplicated human existence to the wonder of the moon.

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