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Compare and contrast "Pike" by Ted Hughes with "Trout" by Heaney.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast "Pike" by Ted Hughes with "Trout" by Heaney. Both poets focus on different aspects of the fish's lives. Heaney focus's mainly on the sleek physicality of the trout and the fact that it is a guided missile, full of energy and this point reinstates the fact that it is very powerful, not dangerous or aggressive. It also contributes to the very militaristic style that the poem is written in due to the fact that Heaney had a violent upbringing in Ireland, which helps to bring in the notion that the trout is a missile or acts like a bullet being shot from a gun. Hughes focuses mainly on the pike's very sinister personality that it is born with and its aggressive nature towards all, even its own kind. So it is therefore not surprising that the pike is a natural born killer from the egg and as it is so aggressive it is invested with mythical qualities and is subsequently thought of as a prehistoric relic lurking in the legendary depths of England's freshwater ponds. So the poets see both fish with respect and admiration as both are sleek, quick, majestic and powerful. Let us now compare and contrast how Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney put across these points to us. ...read more.

Middle

Now Hughes introduces himself in to the poem so that we can really feel the power of the pike. ' Stilled legendary depth: It was as deep as England. It held pike too immense to stir, so immense and old that past nightfall I dared not cast.' Hughes may have been only a boy at the time but now we really begin to sense just how deadly the pike is. He dared not cast past nightfall for he is so scared that he may catch something so enormous and legendary that he would not know what to do. We know that the fish in the pond have outlived the monastery that planted them in the first place which does not inspire much hope to Hughes as it suggests that the pike are slowly taking over. 'Darkness beneath night's darkness had freed, that rose slowly towards me, watching.' From this quote it is possible to think that it is the pike that are fishing for him, rather than Hughes fishing for the pike! This also leads us to think that Hughes is certainly much more afraid of the pike than the pike is of him. We can now contrast this with the trout, which although being a predator could never insert the same amount of shear fear in to a human as a pike can and would certainly be more afraid of a human than a human would be of it. ...read more.

Conclusion

We also learn that the trout is very similar to a tracer bullet, 'darts like a tracer-bullet back between stones and is never burnt out.' This is because they both have great precision. The trout is unlike a tracer bullet because it never runs out whereas a tracer bullet does. This shows us that the trout is one better than a bullet. We are also told that the trout is 'ramrodding the current' because it is going up stream. 'A volley of cold blood ramrodding the current.' 'A volley' in militaristic terms means a rain of fire, so we get the impression that the trout is pounding itself fearlessly against the current and it is 'of cold blood' because fish are cold-blooded creatures. We can now see that 'Pike' and 'Trout' are written in different ways as both poets are trying to get a different message across to us. As Heaney has written 'Trout' in a very abstract manner it suggests that he has not concentrated on the trout's lifestyle. He wanted us to really feel the sense of power the trout has and the fact that it is subsequently full of energy. Hughes on the other hand has written a very detailed poem about the pike's lifestyle and mannerisms, as he wanted us to get an idea of just how fierce, aggressive and merciless the pike really is. Tom Owens Remove 2 ...read more.

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