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Perch and Pike

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There are a number of ways one could bring nature to life. One could choose to express this in song, art or in the written language. Seamus Heaney's "Perch" and Ted Hughes "Pike" are examples of this exploration of the comparison of humanity and the environment surrounding us. Hughes explores the darker, indifferent and even predatory side of nature; the mechanical language displaying nature's cool indifference while the vivid symbolism presents to the reader the predatory instincts underlying the providence of nature. Hughes' poem leads the readers to believe that nature is dismal and sinister, yet when the reader turns to Heaney's poem of "Perch", the reader finds a side of nature that is benevolent and comforting; Heaney establishes this belief through personification and rhythmic colloquial language. Hughes uses a variety of techniques to exhibit this view of a cold, predatory, indifferent nature. In "Pike" he describes the fish with 'green' stripes 'tigering the gold' body. ...read more.


The connection between the predator and the machine-like qualities of nature only continues to persuade the reader that nature, however beautiful, is cold and indifferent. Via these techniques, Hughes brings nature to life, characterizing nature as a cold aloof personality. In contrast to this, Heaney personifies nature as a familiar friend, a friend that reminds us every so often to hold on and overcome. Heaney establishes this familiarity by employing the use of his local colloquial language, stating the fish were all 'muscle and slur' and indicates to the reader that 'we call' the fish 'flood-slubs', making the poem more personal to the reader and Heaney himself. Additionally the frequent assonance in the line of the poem creates a soothing rhythmic effect on the reader that echoes the babbling of the river. There is a slight use of symbolism in the poem, as the reader may interpret the 'Bann River' as a representation of life; and the 'current' as the obstacle of life. ...read more.


In "Perch" Heaney also uses the fish as a medium to explore existence, he compares our need to hold on to a constant through change to the perch 'guzzling the current, against it, all muscle and slur'. The 'Bann River' can also represent time and the fast moving current the passage that we can't slow down or reverse; he emphasizes it's "the everything flows" of "the world", reminding us that there are some things we can't ever change, and that as we resist the current of opposition, we fight the wrongs of society - making our own path. Through these images evoked by the language of the poems, the poets use nature to explore existence. Through the techniques of symbolism, personification and rhythmic colloquial language, Hughes and Heaney bring nature to life while imparting something important about existence. ?? ?? ?? ?? With close reference to the poems, explore how the poets bring nature to life and say something important about existence. Yee Juenne Ng 11S Final Draft Pike and Perch Coursework ...read more.

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