Truth

Dear HSC students
Truth. Is there any such thing? Truth can be manipulated or deliberately changed and misinterpreted depending on the one presenting it. No version of the truth is more greater than the other and through the study of the poetry by Ted Hughes in Birthday letters Fulbright scholars and Sam in contrast with Sylvia Plath’s 1954 Gordon Lemeyer photograph and her poem “ Whiteness I remember” we realise that the truth is not static entity it can change with different perspectives and representations as we discover that truth is never pure and rarely simple.

Ted Hughes “Fulbright scholars” demonstrates how truth can morph with time. It is the first poem in his collection “birthday letters”. It describes a day in London where Hughes as a young man saw a photograph of the new Fulbright scholars. We see the day through the eyes of Hughes and are taken back into time by his memory. Does Hughes faulty memory influence his perspective of the truth? This porm is a recollection which establishes plath as manipulative and fake and Hughes as naïve. The saterical tone in his coment about her hair “: it would appear to be blonde” shows how Plaths image and persona was fake and a matter of fact.

Through the use of flashback we are given a double perspective, one of the young Hughes and one of the old Hughes. The young Hughes sees nothing but a photograph where as the old Hughes looks beyond the surface to his memory of being Plaths husband. Does this knowledge influence his perspective of truth? Hughes is aware of the part Plath played in his life. This poem portrays that perspectives change with time and how truth is affected by memory.

Hughes remembers parts of the day, whilst questioning other parts of his memory” I remember that though” and it’s emphatic tone emphasises Hughes’ certainty. This contrast with the repitition of the word “maybe”. This specuaton indicates that his memory is inaccurate.

In the first line, the rhetorical question “where was it in the strand” highlights that Hughes is using his memory. Was it correct? We also wonder if Hughes is addressing us or Plath as it is in second person narration to make the audience feel connected. Plath is not personally namd. “ where you among them?”

Hughes also refers to Plaths “veronica like bang and not wat it hid “. He deliberately used this future memory to comment about Plaths suicide attempt, whish at the time he would not know about. He agin shows that “it would appear blonde” to illustrate the mask plath was putting on for the public and again “ your exaggerated smile for the cameras, the judges, the strangers and the firefighters” reflecting by his manipulation and emphasis of one particular memory to show her fasitity in his view.

In contrast, the 1954 Gordan Lemeyer photograph of Sylvia shows a contrast and alters your oppinion of her after the knowledge og Hughes poem.

The issues of appearance vs reality and distortion of the truth is clearly emphasised in this photograph as we are shown a girl who appears to be happy and content where in reality it is a girl who perhaps still suffering from depression as the photograph was taken not long after her suicide attempt. A photograph can only provide a limited amount of truth and can even distort the truth as we are presented with a girl who has a big, happy smile, welcoming gesture, friendly appearance when infact she could oerhaps be the opposite.

Plath is centred in the medium shot sitting sideways, with her head turned slightly. This glamerous pose with Plaths happy smile and beach setting help to distort the real truth about plaths life and inner phsyche. Her heair fallsw over her face perhaps to cover her scar from her suicide attempt. As a result the photograph doesn’t see through the mask she is hiding behind. Is this perspective of platyh the truth? The camera does not deliberately lie but we do not gain a full or truthful representation of her in this photo.

These two texts have one main diffrence in the way they present their different perspectives- their textual form. Poetry is highly subjective and the words put on the p0aper are influenced by the bias of the composer and the photograph only provides a physical view, therefore we are only given a small degree of understanding about the subject and their personality. These two texts depict their representation by selecting components and whether deliberate or not, they highlight perspectives of the truth.

In Sam by Ted Hughes, deliberate emphasis is evident. This poem is an allegorical level. It is a grand drama of their life together. The auditory imagery creates the sense of danger and terror that was present in their relationship”catoract of macadam” creates a noisy, physically disturbing image of cascading chaos.

The first line “ it was all but a piece to you” automatically dresses Plath as it is on second person. This is suggesting that it was a piece of drama in their struggled life together.

Hughes is critisising Plath in saying “ lost your stirrups”, “ lost your reigns,” lost your seat” skilfully using the technique of contrast to contrast it with the wild and dramatic horse ride.

Irony is used throughout this text, asting as though it is talking about Plaths horse going wild, when in reality it is representing their life together.

The focus is on Plath but Hughes uses the facts to tell another story- another sort of truth. It is also a metophot in order to excplore his phsycological response to Plaths death and his sense of the inevitability of her suicide.

In the last stanza, Hughes changes the focus to present himself as the horse. This metaphr allows him to describe the breakdown of his marriage and Plaths suicide and to intensify the emotional impact on Hughes. We are aware of tones of bitterness at the impact on his life in his use of first person pronouns “I” and “me” and the vorceful verbs “ strangled”, “flung”, trip/trapped”, which could even suggest her deliberate attempt to hurt him; to drag him down with her. After her suicide, her life changes completely “ in a flash”.

In Plaths version of the horseride, “ whiteness I remember” Plath skilfully uses her colour technique to describe the once peacefull “white” horse which becomes here a reality of survival. This poem aims to capture what she fealt during the horseride and the significance it had on her.

For a short while, Plath fealt as though she had broke free of restrictions of daily life and the conformity she felt it demanded. She contrasted the horse with herself, she saw what was in the horse was also in her.
Plath realised that she woulod survive if she had the will to survive, “ almost thrown, not thrown” was a very significant insight for plath as she was constantly haunted by her suicide attempt.

Juxtaposition of Sams supposed sedateness with his unexpected wildness is emphasised through this poem. It has descriptive detail of the wild ride “ green grass streaming , houses a rive”. There are showt phrases in the last stanza to conver a sense or urgency and breathlessness.

So through thses poems, the use of techniques through these peoms and the underlying message that is conveyed through these poems we are able to see that truth can be manipulated or deliberately changed and that no version of the truth is more greater than the other.

Truth 9.3 of 10 on the basis of 2203 Review.