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Revision of Pike - Ted Hughes

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by Thomas Chang on 8 October 2013

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Transcript of Revision of Pike - Ted Hughes

Background photo by t.shigesa
Revision of Pike - Ted Hughes (by Chang 5A)
About the Poem
Free verse, 44 lines of 11 stanzas.
Based on the personal experience of Hughes, who, as a child, often visited a lake inhabited by pike.
The writing has a conversational tone to it, and uses simple language with few polysyllabic words
Structure
The stanzas are broken into 3 sections
Analysis
Hughes recites 'Pike'
1st: stanzas 1-2
This part sets the environment and gives an objective description of the pike
Words such as "perfect", "grandeur", and "delicacy" reveal a sense of awe from the poet.
The pike exemplifies survival of the fittest, driven by instinct. It is at the top of its food chain, a "killer" which is "a hundred feet long" in its world.
2nd: stanzas 3 - 7
3rd: stanzas 8-11
Change of setting here, the narrator is put in direct contact with the grim predator.
Set at a pond of a monastery.
In the fading light, the readers experience the FEAR that the pike creates: with "owls hushing" and the poet's "hair frozen".
Here a sense of unease is created as the pike "lurk" stealthily "in an amber cavern of weeds".
There is an even more graphic description of the "jaw's hooked clamp"
Stanzas 5-7 make up an anecdote. The memories of the poet illustrate that pike are unstoppable creatures. The horrible image of pike in pike creates this.
A Scary Fish
In the poem, Hughes highlights the menace of the fish by drawing our attention to its mouth: "hooked clamp and fangs", "malevolent aged grin"
The metaphor of "green tigering the gold" shows the predatory nature of the fish.
The final line of the poem (rose slowly towards me, watching) is particularly sinister, as the pike moves towards the surface to see who dares to violate his domain.
The Message
Hughes wants us to examine our attitudes toward nature.
He wants us to remember we are one species among many and we are not as powerful as we would like to believe.
The pike's predatory, violent behaviour is natural; perhaps we are no different because we are driven by impulse.
'Pike' compared to 'Hunting Snake'
The poems are similar in that both writers share a profound respect for the animals they are describing.
Both Hughes and Wright want us to appreciate nature's deadly aspect.
We should consider our role in the world we live in and treat wild life well
Essay Questions
Explore the ways in which Ted Hughes conveys a chilling atmosphere in 'Pike'.
Discuss how the shift in time in 'Pike' is significant to the text.
Discuss how 'Pike' and 'Hunting Snake' reveal the poets attitude toward nature.
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