Crow’s Fall Summary and Analysis by Ted Hughes
In this poem, the crow is personified from the beginning of the It is an example of anthropomorphism. Readers come across another instance of personification in the line, “trees grew suddenly old.” The poet uses the color “white” as a metaphor. It is compared to the purity of the heart. In the last line, “Where white is black and black is white”, is an example of chiasmus.
In the first four lines of ‘Crow’s Fall’, Ted Hughes is referring not to any ordinary crow. This mythological crow is not black. It has white feathers. The metaphorical use of the word “white” hints us that it was in a pure state. One day the crow thought that the sun was beaming brighter than its feathers. He became frustrated and decided to beat the sun in a battle. Thus he could prove that he was more powerful than it. The thought of defeating the sun echoes the story of Satan. In this poem, Sun is a symbol of God. Like Satan, the crow defied the limits powerful as the sun. It gradually led to his downfall and tried to be as like the fate of fallen angels in the Bible.
The crow was full of conviction that he could defeat the sun. He started to get himself ready for the battle. Ted Hughes writes this section in a manner that brings a sense of humor and irony in the poem. The crow’s activity primarily seems humorous. It also brings out his hollowness. His arrogance had made him ignorant of the fact that the sun couldn’t be defeated. In his frame of vision, the sun seemed smaller than him and it encouraged him to challenge the power of the sun. According to Hughes, “He laughed himself to the center of himself” as he wasn’t aware of what he was doing. He was under the spell of a temporary but powerful emotion called “over ambition”.
The crow pointed his beak towards the sun and flew with full force to replace its position. He cawed his battle cry in the sky. As closer to the sun, his body temporarily hid the sun. The trees looked old for the shadow around them. In ‘Crow’s Fall’ Hughes uses this imagery to intensify the tension of the poem.
In the last few lines of ‘Crow’s Fall’ by Ted Hughes, the poet presents the effect of over ambition. The crow had returned to its place. The sun was shining again in the sky but the crow lost his whiteness. His feathers were “charred black”. “He opened his mouth but what came out was charred black.” It means that his blind ambition had burnt his purity also.
At last, the crow said, “Where white is black and black is white, I won.” This line is significant enough with respect to the theme of the poem. Here Hughes illustrates that the crow’s mentality was not -actually changed. Though his outer appearance had changed for his act of presumption, his basic thinking remained the same. He was still thinking that he had defeated the sun.
This statement is diabolic in meaning. The resonance of Satan’s argumentation is visible in this line. Satan also tried to convince the angels with such equivocal statements. In this way, Hughes not only depicts the physical change of the crow but also presents its inner transformation in his poem ‘Crow’s Fall’.