What is a critical analysis of the poem "Ravens" by Ted Hughes?

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“Ravens” by Ted Hughes is an account of a father explaining to his child on a “blue and warm” spring day the facts of life and death, when the child “has eyes only” for a lamb that was born dead. At the beginning of the poem, before the mundane tragedy ...

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“Ravens” by Ted Hughes is an account of a father explaining to his child on a “blue and warm” spring day the facts of life and death, when the child “has eyes only” for a lamb that was born dead. At the beginning of the poem, before the mundane tragedy of the dead lamb is introduced, Hughes mentions the raven that “bundled itself into midair,” the phrase suggesting haste and secrecy; the raven is “low and guilty” in its flight, anticipating the later reveal of what it has done. The newborn lamb which “died being born” has been torn apart by the raven, its insides pulled out. The lamb is, to the sheep, inconsequential: the poet cannot tell which is its mother, and already it is being succeeded by a black lamb unfolding the “tripod” of its legs. However, to the child, the lamb and its possible suffering are of vital importance, as the child repeats, “Did it cry?”

The poem conveys both the mundanity of death as a part of life, something animals easily move on from, and the huge significance of it when it first breaks into a human child’s understanding.

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