Here are a range of practice essay questions for Ted Hughes’ poetry that are written following the CAIE / Cambridge IGCSE 0475 / 0992 style exam format. Some are taken directly from past papers, whereas others are composed using similar wording and structures that are used for other poets on that syllabus

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Ted Hughes Poetry

CAIE IGCSE Poetry, Songs of Ourselves, Volume 2, Part 4

CAIE IGCSE Poetry, Songs of Ourselves, Volume 1, Part 4

CIE IGCSE Poetry Essay Questions 2023-2025, Part 1

CAIE IGCSE Poetry Essay Questions 2023-2025, Part 2

Essay Questions:

  1. How is the central theme of time explored in the poem ‘A Memory’? 
  2. ‘A Memory’ presents farm work as a hard but rewarding and noble job. To what extent do you agree or disagree with that statement? 
  3. Compare the presentation of the working class in ‘A Memory’, and one other poem you have studied. Think about themes, languages, and form. 
  4. “The speaker’s brother is an important character in Anniversary.” To what extent do you agree? 
  5. How far would you agree that ‘Anniversary’ is a tragic poem? 
  6. Compare the presentation of family relationships in ‘Anniversary’ and one other poem in your collection. 
  7. Discuss Hughes’ attitude to religion and spirituality in ‘Anniversary’ and one other poem that you have studied. 
  8. Examine the themes of fate and God explored in the poem ‘Cat and Mouse’. Include whether you agree with the poet’s view of fate as described in the poem. 
  9. Analyse the parallels between nature and human life described in ‘Cat and Mouse’, and one other poem that you have studied. Consider the structure, language and context. 
  10. “We feel no pity for the mouse in the poem, because he is just part of the natural life cycle.” To what extent do you agree with this interpretation? 
  11. “The result of the match was not important to the speaker of the poem.” To what extent do you agree or disagree with that statement? Give your reasons. 
  12. Examine the ways in which the speaker used humorous, childlike or whimsical imagery in the poem ‘Football at Slack’. 
  13. Compare the presentation of sport and sport players in ‘Football at Slack’ and one other poem you have studied. Think about the language, themes and context. 
  14. To what extent does Hawk’s godlike persona seem believable in the poem ‘Hawk Roosting’? 
  15. From the speaker’s viewpoint, how is humanity a lower form of existence in the poem ‘Hawk Roosting’? 
  16. Discuss the poem’s presentation of leadership and power in the poem ‘Hawk Roosting’. 
  17. How does Hughes explore nature in the poem ‘Hawk Roosting’? 
  18. Human nature compels many of us to extend life as much as possible, maybe even infinitely, but Hughes ‘Relic’ seems to stand as a premonition for their failure. To what extent do you agree with Hughes’ vision? 
  19. Examine the ways Hughes explores the theme of survival in ‘Relic’. Look at the language, themes and form. 
  20. In what ways does the title ‘Relic’ express the poem’s main themes and concerns? 
  21. How does the poet create an atmosphere of mystery and wonder in ‘Roe Deer’? Use references from the poem in your answer. 
  22. ‘Roe Deer’ is neither a happy nor a sad poem. Do you agree? Explain your thoughts. 
  23. Compare the way nature and animals are presented in ‘Roe Deer’, and one other poem you have studied. 
  24. Examine the way in which Hughes presents his thoughts on the interactions between humans and the wilderness in the poem. 
  25. In what way does Hughes explore the theme of nature’s cruelty in ‘Snowdrop’? 
  26. Read Ted Hughes’ ‘Relic’ and compare its approach to animal life in both poems. Is the marine life he describes in ‘Relic’ different from the terrestrial life depicted in ‘Snowdrop’? 
  27. The context of emerging technology is an important theme in ‘Telegraph Wires’. Compare and contrast the attitudes towards technology in this and another poem you have studied. 
  28. How does ‘Telegraph Wires’ explore the connection between humans and the natural landscape? 
  29. “Hughes prefers nature to human company.” In reference to ‘Telegraph Wires’ and one other poem you have studied, to what extent would you agree with this statement? 
  30. How does Hughes explore the power of nature in ‘The Harvest Moon’? 
  31. To what extent would you consider ‘The Harvest Moon’ an ominous poem, with an apocalyptic tone? 
  32. In what ways does Hughes strikingly convey a sense of fear and awe in the poem ‘The Harvest Moon’? 
  33. ‘Ted Hughes is a poet who blows hot and cold with the same breath.’ Discuss the relevance of this statement to the poem ‘The Horses’. Reference language used, structure and context. 
  34. Think about the way nature is represented in this poem, and compare it to one other poem you have studied. 
  35. How does Ted Hughes structure to mirror the relationships between humans and nature, in ‘The Horses’? 
  36. How does Hughes approach the theme of entitlement in ‘The Other’? 
  37. “The speaker only feels resentment towards the addressee (the ‘you’ of the poem).” To what extent do you agree? 
  38. How does the poem explore ideas about ghosts and the supernatural in the poem ‘The Other’? 
  39. How does Hughes use striking imagery to create a curious mood in the poem ‘The Thought-Fox’? 
  40. Compare the representation of animals in ‘The Thought-Fox’ and another poem you have studied. Think about themes, structure and language. 
  41. The poem ‘The Thought-Fox’ is more about the speaker’s experience than the fox itself. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? 
  42. How does Hughes use language to bring nature to life in the poem ‘Wind’? 
  43. “The poem is not satisfying for the reader.” Do you agree? Justify your answer using the text. 
  44. To what extent does the poem depict humans as powerless and fragile in the face of nature?