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Big Poppy

Big Poppy

by Ted Hughes

Big Poppy Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. What's the nature of Nature in this poem? How does the poem control Nature, let it go, think about it, create it, destroy it? Do you think that man is at all capable of understanding the outside world? How is that understanding or lack thereof demonstrated in "Big Poppy"?
  2. By focusing so heavily on such a singular thing, what kind of world does the poem create? How does it alter the ways in which we think about the objects in the poem, and their relationships to one another? How does it alter our own lives?
  3. How does the poem go about treating drugs? Does it glorify the production of opium? Fear it? Care about it at all? How does the poem relate the poppy-as-flower to poppy-as-drug?
  4. How does this poem view the life cycle? Is it too short? Too long? Just right? How might you go about connecting the way in which life and death are discussed in this poem to more philosophical concepts of life and death that we as humans have about our own mortality?
  5. What can you say about gender roles in this poem? The poppy is female, the bee is male – what kinds of roles do they each play? How is gender characterized in each case? Do you think that these are fair characterizations?

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