Module C Response Good Afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. The existence of conflicting perspectives in society can only be enriching. Today, I will present to you how the representation of conflicting perspectives in textual forms creates a mirror to our society. This mirror reflects societal imperfections, the major, on which we will focus today, being obsession. This issue has been particularly documented in the turbulent relationship between poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath and the literary works that have been inspired by them.
To begin, in Ted Hughes’s 1999 poem collection Birthday Letters focuses on the pitfalls of the relationship while offering insight into the conflict’s origin. In Hughes’s poem “The Shot”, he identifies Plath’s obsession with her father’s death as the source of her distress through the use of an extended metaphor, use of imagery and visual structure. He begins by comparing Sylvia’s father to a “God” and her obsession as her “worship” to him as he describes, “Your worship needed a god. Where it lacked one, it found one here”.
The religious reference communicates to us the audience the severity of her devotion and also her need to fulfil it with other male figures. Hughes continues to compare Plath’s consequent actions through an extended metaphor of a “bullet”. He describes her “You were gold-jacketed, solid silver, nickel-tipped. Trajectory perfect. ” The detail within the imagery such as “gold”, ”silver” and “nickel” establishes Plath’s high maintenance and her determination through the short syntax of “trajectory perfect”.
Therefore, we , the audience is presented with one of the perspectives which establishes the sources of conflict in the relationship. Also, In Ted Hughes’s poem “Your Paris” we are presented with Hughes’s own source of obsession within the relationship. The poet’s fixation on the difference of opinions creates a superior overtone to the piece, with Hughes juxtaposing his and Plath’s view through use of imagery “… and the waiters eyes clogged with dregs of betrayal, reprisal, hatred.
I was not much ravished by the view of the roofs” The “roofs” is a direct reference to Plath’s aspect of fascination with Paris and it is juxtaposed to Hughes’s view of the people through a post-war context. The poem also reveals Hughes’s desired stance in the relationship as he compares himself through a metaphor of a “dog” to Plath’s guardian and protector. He describes “The mere dog in me, happy to protect you/ from you agitation and your stone hours… ” The “dog” metaphor connotes a sense of loyalty, a sharp contrast to Hughes’s previous criticisms.
Together, the poems present a personal conflict in the relationship and explore the wide range of perspectives themed on the issue of obsession. In comparison, the film Sylvia by the director Christine Jeffs, is a direct adaptation of the relationship that presents . She focuses on Plath’s distraught over Hughes’s affair and showcases how the conflict has led to her demise. She establishes the conflict through the fight scene between two characters, as Plath falsely accuses Hughes of infidelity, Jeffs uses a fast-paced sequence of close-up shots of the two characters arguing “I knew it!
I knew, that you couldn’t control yourself! ”. The loud tone, pace and close-up shots establish the close sense of intimacy between the two, as well as signify the tension and its importance. The result of the event displays Sylvia’s eventual loss of sanity when she runs to a telephone box to call for help “Help… me… please… I… can’t help myself… anymore” The director uses a close-up exterior shot to create a sense of invasion and in combination with the character’s use of pausing communicates to the audience Plath’s distress and feeling of entrapment.
Also the composition of the shot, shows Plath’s wedding ring, alluding to the audience that Hughes is the reason for distress. Therefore, the conflicting perspectives about the relationship communicated through Hughes’s poems and Jeffs’s film, allows us to evaluate the significance of relationships in out society, and so enriching our understanding. Finally, I present to you MC Escher’s black and white lithographic print “Relativity”. Escher explores conflicting perspectives through the composition of his artwork, as he sets up three distinct dimensions, each with unique direction.
In this physically-improbably world, he assigns characters that navigate through in different direction and his choice of using black mannequins represents the universality of the idea. Also the construction of the piece is based on a triangular format and Escher successfully use light to create moments of contrast in the black-and-white piece and bring the audience attention to the ongoing elements of a journey. For example, as the eye sees a couple having dinner in a light setting, the viewer’s perspective is shifted towards another figure descending and another, with more shadows, ascending the staircase.
It is because of Escher’s obsession and attention to detail in his literal depiction of conflicting perspectives, that we, the audience, realise the value that it serves in understanding how our society operates Ladies and gentlemen, I hope today that I have convinced you that conflicting perspectives can only be enriching to our societies. It is through the study of them in literature that we can understand their impact and gain an understanding of life.