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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 332

"Wodwo" by Ted Hughes is about a mythological "wood-man," or wild man, discovering his own nature as he explores the natural world. The wild-man is primal, with animal-like senses and instincts. He is found sniffing his way to the water's edge at the beginning of the poem:" What am I? Nosing here, turning leaves over/Following a faint stain on the air to the river’s edge/I enter water." He then curiously investigates the reflection of the river bank in the water, wondering how it could be turned upside down. He discovers a frog in the water, and "inspects its most secret interior" (or dissects it). The primal man is obviously curious and intellectual, a scientist capable of wondering about his world. But his studies soon turn philosophical as he wonders at the nature of his own existence: "I can go anywhere/I seem to have been given the freedom/of this place what am I then?" The wild man has noted a difference between himself and all that he has been examining, noticing that he has a freedom the other elements of nature and animals do not seem to have because of the ecosystem they are so tightly knit to. He pauses for a moment to pick at some bark and wonders some more about his existence: about the implications of "doing," or his ability to exercise free will to take action. He wonders if he is the first of his kind and what his form looks like. He also wonders if he has an "owner," (a God or someone to give him purpose). He continues to explore the natural world, as through exploration he discovers more and more about the nature of his own existence. However, it is when he pauses to sit still that he notices he is the "centre" of everything, as if everything around is watching him. Thus, exploration and introspection teach the wild man he is simultaneously part of nature and an individual, separate consciousness.

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