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Compare and Contrast Horses by Edwin Muir and Pike by Ted Hughes

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Harry YandleEnglishMr Evans Compare and Contrast ?Horses? by Edwin Muir and ?Pike? by Ted Hughes ________________ Both ?Horses? by Edwin Muir and ?Pike? have a title which is a clear statement of intent on what the poem is about. However both of these poems seem to symbolise something more complex, on top of the simple animal poem which it could be interpreted as. Both Ted Hughes and Edwin Muir, ?animal poets? have a pastoral lust for the countryside and were writing around the time when Darwin published his ?Origin of Species?; This could explain why both poets seem to portray their respective animals rather negatively and yet in conclusion, the poets seem to relish nature despite being fearful of it; ?I must pine // Again for that dread country crystalline?. Edwin Muir has a paradoxical wishing for the dreadful country side as it has been taken away from him and hast lost the magic and down-to-earth innocence he had as a child. ...read more.


?Pike? is also a poem in which the persona's observation of the natural world provokes the realisation of how human beings have been wrongly imposing their own angle of vision and interpretation to the world of animals where nothing of 'human' perspective and understanding can apply. Muir also compares the horses? hooves to pistons, ?Their hooves like pistons in an ancient mill?, which symbolises the repetitive and monotonous task which the horses are doing and the rhyme, constant rhythm and regular line length also symbolise this. When you look at pistons all that they do is go up and down very fast but never look like they are moving forward just up and down just like the horses he saw. In both these poems the poem undergoes a change half-way through and seems to address or symbolise something different. In ?Horses? in the sixth stanza, the horses undergo metamorphosis into a demonic creature and Muir uses furnace and burning imagery to create this, ?[the] mysterious fire that lit their smouldering bodies in the mire?. ...read more.


Hughes choice of language is simple: with few polysyllabic words; his phrases are stark, almost bare ?without the frills that people seem to need in order to escape from the brutal realities of living. Such simplicity allows Hughes to make ?Pike? a highly visual poem. His descriptions evoke sharp images for the reader in which the fish becomes tangible. One can see the water, see the weeds, and sense the presence of the pikes as it blends in, waiting to lunge at its unsuspecting quarry. The descriptions are rhythmic, lulling the reader and allowing the final stanzas to take on additional sinister import. These poems, although completely different in terms of content, seem to resonate well together as they both portray a lust for the countryside and more simply, nature, despite the violent and predatory instincts that Evolution says they have. The poems both play with childhood fears and reality in their poems and for that reason, I believe that they are very similar. Compare and Contrast ?Horses? by Edwin Muir and ?Pike? by Ted Hughes 30/05/2012 ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

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The way these poems are linked and compared is very good and apt ideas are communicated effectively. Similarities and differences are explored throughout the poem and elements of language, form and structure are considered. There is still room to cover more points but the depth of those covered is good.

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Marked by teacher Laura Gater 07/08/2013

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