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How does Hughes convey his response to the pike in the poem, "Pike"?

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Introduction

How does Hughes convey his response to pike in the poem? Hughes? responses to the pike include admiration, curiosity, respect, fear and horror. He shows this through use of description, similes and metaphors. During the poem his fear of the pike increases from section to section. He describes the pike as ?perfect?, ?stunned by their own grandeur?, showing his respect for them. In this, the first, stanza he shows his admiration and fear of the pike with the phrase ?They dance on the surface among the flies?. This metaphorical phrase shows admiration through ?dance on the surface?, which shows beauty and grace of movement but it shows fear through ?among the flies? as this can be taken to mean that the pike are ?the lords of the flies? which means devil; the word ?tigering? evokes a sense of beauty and fear at the same time, much like the tiger. ...read more.

Middle

These egotistical predators are much like the dangerous and beauteous submarine gliding silently through the water. In the second section of the poem, stanza 5 ? 6 and a half, a truly vivid illustration of the pike?s behaviour is demonstrated where we see that there were three pike in a tank who, although were being fed enough food(fry), started to eat each other. This is emphasised by ?With a sag belly and the grin it was born with? which shows that the pike seems to enjoy and is proud of the fact that it has killed and eaten its brethren. Hughes uses this to show how horrifically uncaring and evil pike are, even towards their own kind; this is the first glimpse we have of the violent nature of the pike; yet this may not be a true glimpse of their nature but rather an evasive and illusory glimpse, caused by the pike being trapped in a tank . ...read more.

Conclusion

In the fourth section, stanza 8 ? 11, we see how dangerous the pike have become, as the persona, who used to keep pet pike, is now frightened of them. We know this from ?That past nightfall I dared not cast?, which shows his fear of what the pike might do to him if he couldn?t see them. This is emphasised by a human belief that with darkness evil becomes more powerful; in this case the evils of the pike. This last section also gives the pike a mythic quality ?Pike too immense to stir, so immense and old?. It also produces an air of fear and suspense, which is shown through ?Darkness beneath night?s darkness had freed, /That rose slowly towards me watching?. The suspenseful and fearful feelings, at the end, make the reader feel that, one of these monster pike could come up at any time and kill him. ...read more.

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