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Compare and Contrast a 20th Century and non-20th Century Animal Poem

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Adam Wright 14th Nov 2001 Compare and Contrast a 20th Century and non-20th Century Animal Poem 1. Introduction/brief explanation 2. Themes 3. Structure and form a. Stressed/unstressed, iambic pentameter etc b. Form on page, reasons for. 4. Language and Poetry techniques 5. Personal preference and reason For this essay I need to compare and contrast a pre 20th Century and 20th Century piece of poetry that share animals. The Two poems I have chosen are Horses be Edwin Muir for my pre 20th century piece. For my 20th century text I have chosen "The Jaguar" by Ted Hughes. The two poets are using their poetry to inform their audience about their beliefs and thoughts on certain issues. In "Horses" by Edwin Muir the poet is informing the audience about his thoughts on the beginning of the industrial revolution and the effect it will have on the countryside and in particular the shire horse. In "The Jaguar" Ted Hughes makes us aware of his dislike of zoos and the imprisonment of animals and the feelings they encounter, boredom, hope and loneliness. Within "Horses" the poet informs us about his fascination with the shire horse. He describes them as 'like a magic power'. This fascination has been lifelong, from some 'childish hour' to the present time. The poet is fascinated by their strength and beauty, with their 'conquering hooves' on 'great hulks'. ...read more.


For a pre 20th century poem the language is not too archaic and there certainly aren't any words that need to be looked up in a dictionary to be understood. The poem is rich in imagery and to form this imagery the poet has used lots of similes and metaphors; these are very effective. Edwin Muir uses the industrial revolution's 'pistons' in a 'mill' to describe the hooves of the Shire horse in a simile. Edwin Muir also uses the metaphor of tanks to describe their 'great hulks' and their 'conquering'. This metaphor is strong and suitable; the Shire horse is comparatively the tank of the horse world, not necessarily the fastest but most definately both the strongest and toughest. When describing both their beauty and size Edwin Muir is using a oxymoron. When the poet uses the metaphor in 'their great hulks were seraphim of gold', seraphim being angelic, he is really describing them as both small and angelic but of a grand stature. Although an obvious contradiction and oxymoron I believe this is the poet in some small way describing his fascination and also confusion about these 'lumbering' beasts. Edwin Muir also uses metaphor to describe the glossy coat of the horse; the poet describes 'light flowing' off their 'bossy sides in flakes.' ...read more.


Ted Hughes describes the ability of defiance and the glimmer of hope in the Jaguar by his use of the language. The jaguar, metaphorically the eye, 'is satisfied to be blind in a fire.' Ted Hughes is saying although the evidence of life imprisoned totally surrounds the Jaguar he is able to defy it. The ear is 'brain deaf.' The Jaguar has withdrawn inside his own world. A world of defiance with a glimmer of hope but more importantly a different place outside the four walls of his cell. Both poems are successful. They both inspire strong imagery and strong thoughts about the relationship between animals and man, whether it be for pleasure or to advance man itself. Poems normally bore me immensely but by looking into these poems in detail I have found that underneath a very enjoyable surface they both have many serious points to be made within their subtext. Both also have many merits and are definitely lacking on points of criticism. Between the two my personal favourite is "The Jaguar" because of the issues it addresses. The jaguar gave me a creative impression of issues such as our new perception as animals having increased intelligence and their feelings in captivity, issues that have been in the news recently. The imagery Ted Hughes generated in my mind was also a special point for me. Some of his metaphors (thought the one about the parrots and the cheap tarts was superb) helped me understand his viewpoint of captivity. ...read more.

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