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The Hawk In The Rain Essay

727 words - 3 pages

The Hawk In The Rain, the first poem in Ted Hughes’s first book of poetry published in 1957, describes the struggle of man on the earth and “a binary opposition between earth and air (Easthope, 189)”. Many of hughes’s poems including The Hawk in the Rain stand for “an intense experience of an external object (Easthope, 189)”. As the narrator drags himself through the mud, he is subject to harsh weather, heavy rain, and the earth itself, which is compared to a grave, grimly observing that the mud might swallow him whole as the hawk soars above. The earth is personified in the metaphor comparing it to a mouth and the narrator’s description of himself as a “morsel.” The hawk in flight is immune to the struggle, yet the narrator perceives that it is watching as in the alliteration, “effortlessly at height hangs his still eye.” The narrator clearly covets the hawk’s steady vantage point and its will, he wants the capability and power that the hawk posses. The hawk represents the ideal of self-control for the graceless, stumbling and besieged narrator (Bentley, 15). He observers the hawk’s wings as they “hold all creation in a weightless quiet” unshaken by the cold wind and rain, that assault the narrator. He is palpably aware of the violence of nature that he is pitted against while the hawk displays his unperturbed will and, latter in the poem, becomes his “guiding star and helps him to save his humble life (Xiangna, 33)”.
In the last stanza of this poem the narrator concludes that the hawk will inevitably meet the weather that plagues him in his lowly position. A day will come when the hawk will be forced down to the earth and killed should it meet that wind, “coming the wrong way.” Despite the hawks advantage it is not as immune as it first appears to the narrator in his earth bound struggle. While the poem first shows the hawk’s superiority, it also shows that it is not invulnerable to the conditions affecting the narrator. “Then comes the direct conflict...

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