The Iron Man

2 Nov

Mask: Me

Lego Ring: Me again

Reading: The Iron Man: A Children’s Story in Five Nights, Ted Hughes, Illustrated by Andrew Davidson (Faber and Faber, 1989)

This book was written for Hughes’ two children after the suicide of their mother, Sylvia Plath. It is a short story about overcoming our fears and prejudices towards others, and choosing peace over war. The iron man is a Christ-like figure, prepared to sacrifice himself to save the world.

“I didn’t know what to tell them so I kept quiet. I don’t know what was the right thing to do, but after her death I wanted all of us to live as if we had started anew.” Ted Hughes

Many artists have represented their vision of the Iron Man. I love the illustrations by Tom Gauld. He really knows how to draw robots.

P.S. This book is the basis of an animated film The Iron Giant, a beautiful film, very different to the book. Features Vin Diesel’s finest performance.


2 Responses to “The Iron Man”

  1. keith donovan November 2, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    Not familiar with this one. Ted Hughes is an interesting poet. Have you read any of his poems. I suppose you know he was Sylvia Plath’s husband. Her book “The Bell Jar” is a rivetting read. Sad too, given how her life ends. You may have read it as she was popular when you were young.

    • Aspirant Librarian November 3, 2012 at 8:32 am #


      I am embarrassed to admit that I have not read The Bell Jar. It is on my long list somewhere. I read some of Hughes’ poetry when I was younger, I did not connect with it, maybe because I am not the outdoorsy type. I prefer his prose.
      “It is occasionally possible, just for brief moments, to find the words that will unlock the doors of all those many mansions in the head and express something – perhaps not much, just something – of the crush of information that presses in on us from the way a crow flies over and the way a man walks and the look of a street and from what we did one day a dozen years ago. Words that will express something of the deep complexity that makes us precisely the way we are.” Ted Hughes. I would like to try Birthday Letters.

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