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Examination of the Womb-Door
Transcript of Examination of the Womb-Door
Examination at the womb-door
This poem by Hughes is from the book:
Crow: From the life and songs of the crow
Crow is described as a 'quasi-human' mythical creature. Hughes actually saying:
"Nobody knows quite how he was created or how he appeared. He was created by God’s nightmare. What exactly that is I tried to define through the length of the poem, or the succession of poems."
This poem is a reference to 'The Crow'.
This is a fable in which the Crow represents the rebirth of man. The Crow is a product of nightmare, he has been challenged by God to improve humanity. Before it can be born it must go through many adventures/difficulties. He then has to pass a test set by God before he can be born.
Title & Tone
The title is a direct reference to the examination the crow must take before he is born.
The use of 'womb-door' suggests that the womb is a door that can only be opened once the infant or in the 'Crow' has passed the 'examination'
Repetition of 'Death' - Death owns all aspects of the living human body. It shows the strength of Death, he is a hunter,
'utility coat' - suggests that the soul is more important than the body, reference to the eternal souls - a teaching in the bible that says that your souls is eternal and lives forever.
'questionable brains' - suggests the stupidity of humans compared to Death and in general.
The use of negative adjectives and pronouns throughout Stanza - shows the deficiency of human body
Semantic field of the body.
Personification of death with use of Pronoun
Stanzas 2 & 3
'Given, stolen' - reference to Death deciding when people are allowed to die
'held pending trial' - suggests the Crow is waiting like a criminal on trial.
'Held.' - Emphasizes the anticipation, the indefinite wait that may come. The full stop suggesting a finality, the Crow can do no more, it's in Death's hands.
'whole rainy, stony earth.' - Pathetic fallacy, representation of how the Earth feels, very bleak imagery.
'Who owns...earth' & 'Who owns all of space.' - Suggests that Death owns everything not just humans, he is stronger than God.
Stanzas 4 & 5
'hope', 'will', 'love', 'life' - abstract thoughts, this ties in with the overall theme that Death is an abstract thought.
'Who owns...' repetition - this shows that Death is stronger than even the abstract thoughts that are present throughout humanity.
'But who is stronger than Death?' - direct quote from the Crow, this is God directly addressing the crow as part of the examination.
'Me, evidently' - Crow is about to be born, he has beaten Death and therefore he is stronger than him. It has an arrogant tone.
'Pass' - the Crow has passed, he can now be born, he can exit the womb-door.
'Crow.' - finally he has a name, an identity. full stop suggest the finality of it all.
There is an interrogative tone throughout that suggests conversation between God and Crow perhaps? It could also be seen as a trial or that God is curious about what the Crow has found out.
There is a sort of rhyme throughout the poem with the repetition of 'Death', 'Who owns' and 'Who is stronger'