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Compare Hughes's portrayal of the swallow in 'Work and Play' with that of the hawk in 'Hawk Roosting'.

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Introduction

Compare Hughes's portrayal of the swallow in 'Work and Play' with that of the hawk in 'Hawk Roosting'. In this essay I will look at the different aspect of the birds in two Ted Hughes poems. 'Hawk roosting' is a poem that portrays a Hawk that feels in control. The poem is set-out in a very formal and regimented way. This shows the Hawks authority within the poem just by looking at it on the page. Another way that he has shown that the hawk is in control is that in the last verse each line ends with a full stop, this shows the end of the poem and stamping the hawks authority over the Woodland area. 'Work and Play' is another poem. It is a poem about a swallow that is observing human life when they are working and when they are playing. ...read more.

Middle

The repetition of hooked puts the reader on guard, it sounds slightly sinister. In 'Work and Play' the sinister does not come from the bird but from the cars with their serpent like qualities. This idea is confirmed when the hawk goes on to say that his dreams are single-minded that he rehearses the perfect kill. He is portrayed almost like a military dictator. The irony in the statement my manners are tearing off heads is intentional. The hawk actually seems proud of the fact that he does not worry about the way he eats, about how violently he rips up his victims before consuming them. He is so proud that 'manners' have ceased to matter. Someone in his unassailable position does not need to consider whom he might be offending. The statement simply emphasises his sense of absolute superiority. ...read more.

Conclusion

They are unable to appreciate what summer really has to offer. Hughes portrays both birds as the most superior thing in the poem. The hawk is shown as being the ruler of the wood. The swallow is shown to be higher than the humans by flying over them and almost laughing at them. Both birds are seen observing humans at work or at play. In 'Hawk Roosting' there is a sense of danger expressed by the hooked feet being referred to and also the hawk thinking bout his perfect kill. In 'Work and Play' there are slight hints of danger an example is 'whiplash swimmer' this gives a sense of danger even with the swallows gracious movements through the air. The Hawk being lazy bird is shown just sitting on top of a tree whereas the swallow is portrayed flying in the air and being a lot more energetic. ...read more.

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