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Comparative Essay On “Salmon” And “Pike”

1109 words - 5 pages

“Salmon” by Tom Dawe and “Pike” by Ted Hughes are two free verse poems that both have the theme of fish. In their poems both of the poets use strong imagery to describe the two different fish and both poems also have the motif of someone watching a fish. The final element that stands out in both poems is the use of structure and the way that they are different. Although both poems are similar with some of the elements they differ in ways, like how the two poets describe the fishes in their own unique way and the different levels of simplicity in there writings where one is much more complex than the other.

The imagery in “Salmon” isn't as strong as in “Pike” but Dawe does a great job of making the salmon seem like an ancient mythical creature. In the first stanza Dawe describes the salmon as "wise prophetic creature" (line 4), "enteral battler" (line 6), and "her flesh forbidden" (line 9). This gives the reader the image of a smart old creature that hides its flesh with its battle armor. Imagery is also used in the second stanza of this poem. In the second stanza Dawe describes the scenery of the poem when he wrote "This morning in low, rusty water, / she was spotted" (lines 12-13). These lines give the mental image of someone looking into the rust colored murky water and spotting the fish as it swam by.

In “Pike”, Hughes likes to use colors and measurements to describe what the pike looks like and the scenery. In the first line Hughes writes "Pike, three inches long, perfect"(line 1). Already the reader has a rough image of what the fish looks like. In the second stanza he writes, "A hundred feet long in their world"(line 7), this lets the reader visualize that the pike is the biggest fish in the water. In stanza 3 Hughes describes the scenery of where the pike is swimming. In line 13 Hughes describes the pikes teeth and face by saying, "the jaws' hooked clamp and fangs" (line 13). In stanza 6 Hughes uses personification to help the reader visualize what the pike looks like. Stanza 8 gives the reader more of an image of what the person that is fishing is seeing when Hughes writes "A pond I fished, fifty yards across, /Whose lilies and muscular tench" (lines 29-30). Those lines also give the image of other fish in the pond that aren't pike. In the final 3 stanzas Hughes writes about nightfall and the darkness surrounding the person while he is fishing.

Both poems have the motif of someone watching the fish. In “Salmon” the motif is shown in lines 3, 9, 13. "She was always mystical"(line 3) shows the motif by making it seem like somebody has been watching the salmon for a while and it's always been a mystical sight. The motif is shown again when Dawe writes "her flesh forbidden" (line 9). This makes it seem like the person viewing the salmon has never see the flesh of the salmon because it is guarded by the outer layer of skin. The motif is shown for a final time in line 13. "she was spotted" (line 13).This...

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