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The Theme of Humanity in the Poem Hawk Roosting

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Introduction

The Theme of Humanity in the Poem "Hawk Roosting" "Hawk Roosting" is one of Ted Hughes' many poems which describes nature and animal savagery. In this particular work, Hughes details the characteristics of a regal hawk, ruling over its domain. Although it may seem to be a simple descriptive piece, "Hawk Roosting" actually maintains a "duality" throughout each verse. Not only is it a vivid description of a living being, the poem is Ted Hughes' critique on humanity. Beneath its surface is a stark reminder of how our weaknesses are degrading us into common animals. The first verse paints a scene of a hawk resting on the treetops: "I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed Inaction, no falsifying dream Between my hooked head and hooked feet: Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat." Straight away the poem asserts the dominance of the bird. The words "Top of the wood" suggests the hawk is a predator, high up in the food chain. ...read more.

Middle

As the poem progresses into the fourth verse, the hawk awakes from its stillness and takes flight: "Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly - I kill where I please because it is all mine. There is no sophistry in my body: My manners are tearing off heads -" Firstly the writer projects an image of the hawk flying above with a bird's-eye view as the world revolves. Interestingly, it is the hawk that is doing the "revolving". All of its dominion merely orbit around it. The hawk also owns its territory so it can "kill where I please". These first two lines is a link to the last verse which further underlines the hawk's supremacy. Similarly, we exploit the Earth because we believe it belongs to us. Although we consider ourselves a civilised race, the writer points out that some of our methods are far from graceful. In fact, he describes our way of living as "tearing off heads". For example, we factory-farm animals for profit and we invade other countries to quench our thirst for fuel. ...read more.

Conclusion

On the other hand, this verse also criticises the human aversion to change. For example, people still pollute the planet even though they know it can cause climate change and natural disasters. The last three lines highlight this fact. We have not done anything in the past to amend our mistakes - "Nothing has changed since I began." We are unwilling act now - "My eye has permitted no change." We will not abandon our methods in the future - "I am going to keep things like this." This is the heart of Ted Hughes' criticism. We humans, as the masters of this world, are continuously destroying our planet because we are reluctant to change our wicked ways. In the end, "Hawk Roosting" is fundamentally an illustration of a magnificent creature. Nevertheless, Hughes masterfully embedded his critique on humanity into the poem. Just like the hawk, we are "predators". However, our "prey" is nature and its resources. We are no better than cruel savages. "Hawk Roosting" is Hughes' attempt at making us aware of this fact. Ultimately, his wish is that we preserve a better world for future generations. ?? ?? ?? ?? 2 924 words excluding quotations ...read more.

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