He was possessed with an utter distaste for academic politics and a special gift for finding simple solutions to complex scientific problems, which he then translated into clear, clean prose for the most important publications in his field.“For me, his work was elegant and beautiful, just like a good poem,” said Amanda E.And with his death there is building resentment, a sense that his life and death are being distorted by strangers, depicted as either the inevitable after-effect of his father’s infidelities or somehow genetically foreordained by his mother’s demons.Their Nicholas Hughes was a man of immense energy and curiosity, most at home in a well-worn wool sweater and a battered pair of Xtratuf boots, marching over tundra toward some hidden bend of water.“He was fully engaged in the Alaska experience,” said Denis A.Wiesenburg, dean of the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.Here a community of scientists knew him not through his parents’ poetry, but through the ingenuity of his research into freshwater ecosystems.They knew him from ice fishing and cycling, from gardening or making pottery.
Several of his friends politely refused interview requests, saying they simply did not believe that Mr. Likewise, those who knew of his family story considered it basic good manners not to trespass on the subject uninvited.
After all, not only did they absorb their mother’s death, but they also endured what came six years later, when Assia Wevill, the woman for whom Mr. Plath, gassed herself and their 4-year-old half sister, Shura. Kukil said, seemed reassured when she described Nicholas Hughes’s life in remote Alaska, a path in keeping with his father’s love of nature and fishing.
His suicide, she said, “really hit people hard.” In Fairbanks, the responses are more complex.
The lines were a succinct rendering of Nicholas Hughes, a man who joyously devoted his career to the study of fish in Alaska’s snowy rivers and whose home, a handsome 2,800-square-foot cabin on 20 pristine acres of spruce and birch, faced toward the distant Brooks Range. In the weeks since, the news of the suicide has cut through two distant and disconnected worlds in vastly different ways. He was “the baby in the barn” in “Nick and the Candlestick,” from Ms.
He was a man who made it clear to friends that he would rather discuss the finer points of ice fishing than the writings of his parents. Hunter, a wildlife ecology professor at the university, went upstairs to grade papers. In the thriving community of Plath and Hughes scholars, the death has been deeply felt through the prism of his parents’ writings. Plath’s best-known collection, “Ariel,” written in her final months.