Study Guide

Wind Man and the Natural World

By Ted Hughes

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Man and the Natural World

The poem takes place in the natural world and it involves human beings. So this is definitely a theme—probably the major theme—of "Wind." Hughes pictures the natural world as awesome, but also threateningly indifferent. It's greater than human beings and ignores their petty concerns. Sorry, but Nature has other work to do. Nevertheless, people manage to eek out a fragile existence amid this greater network of forces. Also, although Nature is violent, it has the ability to inspire. The poem itself is an example of that, transfiguring the destruction wrought by the wind into something with darkly magical power.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. Does Ted Hughes think Nature is hostile to human beings? Or is it something else, possibly indifferent or neutral? How can you tell?
  2. Can humanity actually ever defeat Nature and eliminate the threats it poses? Would this be a good thing to do? How would the poem's speaker answer these questions?
  3. How much of this poem is due to the power of Nature, and how much is due to the power of the speaker's imagination? Do you feel that one might be greater than the other here? Which, and why?

Chew on This

The speaker feels that Nature is our home.

Ah, nice try, but this poem clearly shows us how Nature is not our home.

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