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Tiger In The Menagerie
Transcript of Tiger In The Menagerie
'the bars were the lashes of the stripes
the stripes were the lashes of the bars'
can mean a merging of two things. So at night the tiger can become something totally different, and act differently. The tiger is becoming strange things, turning into the bars of the cage.
- It was too flash, too blue,
too much like the painting of a tiger
- When the sun rose they'd gone
- One clear orange eye
- It was too bright, too bare
- Beat in rows of rising birds
- Walked together in their dreams so long
The tiger is usually connected to being vicious and overpowering as they are predators in the animal kingdom. In this poem it suggests reason that the tiger is aggressive, although is not specific about it. The word menagerie suggests that animals are in captivity and kept locked away from the rest of the world, but this could result in the tiger not knowing the outside world well which can lead to danger.
What does it have to do with love?
I believe that Emma Jones relates this to love as being dangerous and ever changing. I think this because menagerie refers to the fact that it is in captivity and kept locked away at all times. A tigers symbol is the fast, unnoticable and violent actions that come along by being a predator. Another reason I think this is because the tiger 'were the lashes of the bar' and changing character which takes over your life which can be inferred by 'they walked together in their dreams' saying that the thought of the tiger came to her in her dreams, even when she was sleeping.
Tiger In The Menagerie
No one could say how the tiger got into the menagerie.
It was too flash, too blue,
too much like the painting of a tiger.
At night the bars of the cage and the stripes of the tiger
looked into each other so long
that when it was time for those eyes to rock shut
the bars were the lashes of the stripes
the stripes were the lashes of the bars
and they walked together in their dreams so long
through the long colonnade
that shed its fretwork to the Indian main
that when the sun rose they'd gone and the tiger was
one clear orange eye that walked into the menagerie.
No one could say how the tiger got out in the menagerie.
It was too bright, too bare.
If the menagerie could, it would say 'tiger'.
If the aviary could, it would lock its door.
Its heart began to beat in rows of rising birds
when the tiger came inside to wait.
The words used to describe in the poem are violent and shows the true and predicable nature of the real tiger. When describing the vast colours that are in this poem, it seems that the killing and the violence is fake because it's so bright and noticeable, unlike a real tiger which acts quietly and discreetly. When the 'tiger got out of the menagerie' it suggests that it escaped its cage and was out with the rest of the world, free. The tigers vicious actions of eating and engulfing the rest of the animals suggests its violece when the poem states that ' when the sun rose they'd gone'.
The phrase 'one clear orange eye' suggests that it is an important feature of the tiger as this is the only thing about the tiger mentioned in the stanza. The symbols of eyes can include manipulation, innocence or even purity (truth). The tiger could have manipulated truths with no words but that one eye and got himself into the menagerie with no effort.
Another reason could be that the eye reference could mean 'playing tricks'. Jones is getting at the fact that love is a trick and that it's easy for them to manipulate you into having what they want and that it will 'eat you up' and take over your life giving it what it desires forever. The line ' Its heart began to beat in rows of rising birds when the tiger came inside to wait' suggests that the birds fy too high for the tiger to reach out and eat it meaning it has a weakness. If you get above it and start trying to fight and get away from it there is no way that it can reach out to get you and bring you back.
Menagerie -a collection of wild animals kept in captivity for exhibition.
Colonnade - a row of evenly spaced columns supporting a roof, an entablature, or arches.
Fretwork - ornamental design in wood, typically openwork, done with a fretsaw.
Aviary - a large cage, building, or enclosure for keeping birds in.