The Menacing Nature of Wind

Throughout the poem “Wind”, by Ted Hughes, there are two significant symbols. In the poem, the house (and its surroundings) is one of the main subjects and symbolizes a relationship between the writer and another person. The second symbol in the poem is the “menacing wind” which appears to represent the other person in the relationship. This is done in a way that portrays the wind as an abuser and the house as the victim; the poem “Wind” as a whole appears to symbolize Hughes’ desire to leave a decaying relationship but the other partner not wanting him to leave.

Hughes opens up the first stanza with the phrase “this house has been far out at sea all night,” illustrating a house, similar to a boat, stranded in the middle of a dark sea. This phrase has a rather negative connotation, suggesting distance within the relationship of Hughes and the other individual thus setting the tone of the stanza, and the rest of the poem, as rather dark, depressing, and inevitably dooming. The wind is described “stampeding the fields” perhaps in attempt to barricade Hughes within the house – he cannot leave if the weather is hazardous. This is one of Hughes first descriptions of the menacing wind and this particular descriptor informs the readers that this wind is a potent force.

The second stanza takes place the morning after the long night of the “menacing” wind’s attack and depicts the aftermath. One of the lines in the second stanza says that “the hills had new places, and wind wielded,” creating the idea that the wind had cut new openings and crevices into the hills, almost wounding the hills. This potentially symbolizes a fight between the writer and an individual; this fight was so horrific and intense that it reached newfound areas of hurt – it had created permanent scars in their relationship just as the hills permanently “had new places” because of the wind.

Taking place at noon, Hughes discusses his experience with the wind as he “scaled along the house-side.” The word “scaled” suggests that Hughes is trying to escape from something yet this wind seems to be hunting him in attempt to trap him in the house. Hughes describes how he “dared once to look up,” again suggesting fear – if he were not in any sense of danger or urgency, looking up wouldn’t be considered daring. As Hughes looks up, he claims that a “brunt wind” “dented the balls” of his eyes, supporting the theory that the wind intends to be an obstacle in his escape – the more of a fight Hughes puts up the angrier and more maleficent the wind becomes.

The fourth stanza seems to be extending the scene established in the third stanza; the wind is wreaking havoc on the surroundings of the house almost as a punishment for Hughes trying to escape. The fields are “quivering” and the skyline wears a “grimace” as if they know what is about to come next; Hughes gave these subjects of nature human-like qualities to show how they too are afraid of the wind. To further illustrate the idea that the wind is outraged, it is mentioned how “the wind flung a magpie,” portraying the wind as being so evil that it does not care at all about who it is hurting – it takes its vengeance out on an innocent bird.

The final two stanzas take place within the house. The wind still is raging causing the house to “ring” and at “any second” the wind would “shatter” the house. The third and fourth line of the fifth stanza, “in front of the great fire, we grip our hearts,” is where the poem explicitly involves another individual. These lines depict Hughes and the other individual sitting in front of a fire “gripping” their hearts as if they have been wounded and tightly grasping them is the only thing to keep them from failing. It is described how Hughes and the other individual no longer can “entertain” one another suggesting the idea that they have grown apart and they both know so. Hughes and the other individual are described as rather calm considering the turbulent weather that is occurring right outside of their house and even as they “feel the roots of the house move” they simply “sit on.” This seems to be saying that Hughes and the other individual are emotionally dead and their relationship is tumbling inescapably downhill and that they have accepted this fate. The wind has attempted so many times to trap Hughes within this house that he has almost become immune to its evil ways and that it no longer affects him just as the possibility of the house buckling in at any moment has no effect on Hughes and the other individual inside the house.

All throughout “Wind,” Ted Hughes has depicted the wind as this monstrous force that is preventing him from leaving this house and takes violent strikes at the house and all that surrounds it whenever Hughes attempts to leave. This attribution of malicious behavior to the wind and the symbolism of the wind itself is how Ted Hughes powerfully conveys the menacing nature of the wind.

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