The Rain Horse

by Ted Hughes
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What effect has a twelve year absence had on the man's relationship with the landscape ?

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This is an interesting question to attempt to answer, as we are never truly given what the precise nature of the unnamed protagonist 's relationship with the land is. It is clear to us that the man is searching for some feeling, perhaps a familiar nostalgia. He seeks out a...

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This is an interesting question to attempt to answer, as we are never truly given what the precise nature of the unnamed protagonist's relationship with the land is. It is clear to us that the man is searching for some feeling, perhaps a familiar nostalgia. He seeks out a very specific spot two miles from the road to observe what is no doubt a familiar landscape. Whatever the case happens to be, the man is sorely disappointed. Nothing is as he remembers it. He looks desperately for some sign or landscape feature that will remind him of that time years ago, but finds none. To him, the land looks like the "bed of an ancient lake," muddy and ruined by weeks of rain.

We can assume that the man is attempting to make some sort of reckoning with his past by the seeming anguish of feeling nothing when he sees what is meant to be a familiar sight. The land in all senses seems to be rejecting him. The horse is a living symbol of this force. It is implied that the man has lived in the city for twelve years, and the ability to contend with the harsh forces of nature may have left him, or he is missing "some important part of his brain."

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