Compare and contrast the two poems: 'Turkeys Observed' - (Seamus Heaney), and 'View of a Pig' - (Ted Hughes).

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Hannah Williams 10D                                                     Poetry Essay

‘Turkeys Observed’ – Seamus Heaney

‘View of a Pig’ – Ted Hughes

Compare and contrast the two poems: ‘Turkeys Observed’ – (Seamus Heaney), and ‘View of a Pig’ – (Ted Hughes).

      In the two poems – ‘Turkeys Observed’ and ‘View of a Pig’, the titles are very similar. ‘‘View’’ and ‘‘Observed’’ – to examine, and to watch. This gives the reader the impression that the poets were very attentive to the detail of the animals – and so made the poem more interesting. The main comparison between the two poems is that they are both about animals. One is about a ‘‘Pig’’ and the other about a ‘‘Turkey’’. Also they are similar because both animals are dead – this makes us feel pity for them, though Hughes does not seem to:

‘‘I thumped it without feeling remorse’’.

      The content of the poems contrast because one of them pity’s the dead animal – Heaney:

‘‘One observes them, one expects them; Blue-breasted in their indifferent mortuary’’.

And the other disrespects it and doesn’t care – Hughes:

‘‘It was just too dead. Just so much a poundage of lard and pork.’’

      There is also great contrast at the beginning of the poems in the first verse. Hughes mentions ‘‘the pig’’ in the very first line. He does this to get straight to the point and to give the impression that it is not worth lingering over. Whereas Heaney doesn’t mention the ‘‘turkey’’ until the third verse, in the other two verses he describes it, to give the impression that it is important and worth a description of what had happened to it:

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‘‘The red sides of beef retain some of the smelly majesty of living’’.

This mentions its colour and that it is dead, but also an aspect that it once lived in great splendour, and he has respect for it.

      Hughes also zooms in on characteristics of the pig:

‘‘Such weight and thick pink bulk set in death seemed not just dead.’’ There is alliteration and tripling of the ‘k’ – ‘thick pink bulk’ which makes it stand out more and so makes us concentrate more on these particular words. It also makes us feel that the dead pig ...

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