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 Hawk Roosting Analysis

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مُساهمةموضوع: Hawk Roosting Analysis   السبت مايو 29, 2010 1:17 pm

I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.

Inaction, no falsyfing dream

Between my hooked head and hooked feet:

Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.The convenience of the high trees!

The air's buoyancy and the sun's ray

Are of advantage to me;

And the earth's face upward for my inspection.My feet are locked upon the rough bark.

It took the whole of Creation

To produce my foot, my each feather:

Now I hold Creation in my footOr fly up, and revolve it all slowly-

I kill where I please because it is all mine.

There is no sophistry in my body:

My manners are tearing off heads-The allotment of death.

For the one path of my flight is direct

Through the bones of the living.

No arguments assert my right:The sun is behind me.

Nothing has changed since I began.

My eye has permitted no change.

I am going to keep things like this.




Poem Summary

Lines 1-4

“The wood” in line 1 refers to a forest, as in the American expression “the woods.” Seated in a treetop, the hawk is able to look down on the world like a king. Hughes establishes the hawk’s personality in the first line, though, by describing it as having its eyes closed: the hawk is impressed with neither the vastness of the world nor with itself for being above the world. This hawk has no “falsifying dreams” about anything being better or worse than it really is. In line 3, the imagery, or physical symbol of the bird being “hooked” at top and bottom not only reminds the reader of the physical appearance of the bird, but also emphasizes the sharp parts of the bird that are used for attacking and killing. In addition, the use of “feet” instead of “claws” creates a link in the reader’s mind between the hawk’s life and human existence; this sort of connection is called personification.

The hawk’s claim in line 2 that it has no falsifying dreams is contradicted by its statement in line 4 that it rehearses “perfect” kills in his sleep. Critics have pointed out that, although this hawk is supposed to be an impersonal killing machine, it has too much self-consciousness for us to consider it to be motivated by instinct alone. The hawk has an opinion about what would be perfection in killing, which shows that it is not outside of the sphere of morality, despite its claim to the contrary.

Lines 5-8

In its tone, this stanza displays a sense of self-importance that matches the hawk’s physical position above the world. The words “convenience,” “buoyancy,” “advantage,” and “inspection” are all examples of elevated, sophisticated diction. Spoken by the hawk, these words indicate that it is a very intelligent bird. This use of language implies that the hawk is mentally as well as physically superior. In line 8, the hawk uses the word “face” to give human qualities to the earth, and it says not only that it can see the earth’s face but that it is there “for my inspection,” as if the earth awaits the hawk’s inspection.

Lines 9-12

“Creation,” because it is capitalized, refers not just to all that exists, but to God, since references to God or pronouns that stand for God are usually capitalized. The understanding of God here is less specific than the images usually accepted by major religions. In the third stanza, there are three mentions of the hawk’s feet. The first is a somewhat simple one, linking the hawk to its natural habitat, which is portrayed as a difficult one through the use of the word “rough.” In the second mention, the hawk asserts that it is not just part of the world, but the end of, the reason for all that exists. In line 12, the hawk takes this self-important view even further, implying that since it exists as the summation of all that is, it is superior even to God. According to such reasoning, God and other beings are not recognized as having any more will or desire than the tree’s bark has. The hawk sees others as creatures performing their specific functions, just as it performs its function when it kills. Presumably, in this worldview, the hawk’s victims understand that it has no purpose but to kill them.

Lines 13-16

“Sophistry” is reasoning that is clever and seems to be well-founded, but in actuality is hollow and false. When the hawk says in line 15, “There is no sophistry in my body,” it is indicating that the body does not reason badly because it does not reason at all; it acts. In this way, the poem seems to express the idea that any amount of reasoning will have some falseness to it and that the only way to avoid falseness is to avoid reasoning. The author has responded to criticisms that “Hawk Roosting” seems to approve of cruelty by saying that he only wanted the hawk to show what “Nature is thinking.” If nature’s thoughts are direct and without reason (such as “I see the mouse, I kill the mouse”), then this poem could be seen as a record of responses to physical stimuli. However, the hawk has ideas about the ways of the world (“I kill where I please because it is all mine”) that seem to come from the exact sort of sophistry that the hawk denies. Similarly, line 16 uses language that is intentionally harsh (“tearing off their heads,” rather than a more impartially descriptive phrase like “removing heads,” which would match the diction of stanza 2). The hawk appears quite conscious of the fact that its actions are vicious, and almost seems to enjoy it.

Lines 17-20

Each stanza of this poem begins with a direct, declarative statement that is brought to a stop at the end of the first line with punctuation. Lines such as these are called “end-stopped lines.” An end-stopped line that brings the flow of the poem to a halt just as the stanza is beginning gives the speaker’s tone a cold sharpness, as if the speaker is stating conditions and making demands rather than having a conversation with the reader. In line 17 this technique is used to make the hawk’s position on killing seem absolute and undisputable. As with the earlier reference to “the whole of Creation” (line 10), this stanza makes absolute statements such as “the one path,” “direct,” “through” (as opposed to “into”), and “No arguments” to convey the hawk’s unhesitating certainty.

In line 20 the hawk says that the rights it is entitled to are not the product of any arguments, implying that it has undeniable rights and that these rights are more important than anything, including God. This echoes the claim made in lines 18 and 19. Both lines emphasize a division between rationality and nature (referred to here as Creation), implying that man, as a rational creature, is separate and distinct from the natural world and from God.

Lines 21-24

In lines 1, 5, 9, and 21 this poem intermittently establishes a setting for the hawk who is speaking. The image in line 21 is especially notable because it does not emphasize the hawk’s viewpoint but specifically tells us about something, the sun, that is out of the range of the hawk’s vision. For the reader who is imagining a hawk on a tree branch, this detail helps to paint a picture, but given the hawk’s self-centered attitude throughout the poem, that it would mention something it does not see is unusual. To some extent, the perspective in this stanza is not just the hawk’s, but an objective point of view that is spoken through the hawk’s “I.” This is seen in the difference between lines 22 and 23: line 22 is an impartial statement, and line 23 expresses the same basic idea, but through the hawk’s all-encompassing ego. In making these two statements, one a passive observation and the other an aggressive claim, this poem draws attention to the different degrees of animal mentality that it offers. The final line is pure arrogance, extending the hawk’s previous claims about being the center of all that came before and all that currently exists to include all that will come to be
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Hawk Roosting Analysis   السبت مايو 29, 2010 1:18 pm


Hawk Roosting”, published in 1960,is included in Ted Hughes’s second book, Lupercal .The Hawk in Ted Hughes’ poem “Hawk Roosting” is power personified. The roosting of the hawk signifies its self-assertion. The very first word of the poem “I”, a sign of the Supreme Ego. The hawk declares that he sits on top of the ‘wood’ that stands for his kingdom. He ‘eyes are closed in oblivion, for at the present, to him only he exists. His world is limited between his hooked head and hooked feet. He is in ”Inaction’. For action does not define him, rather, he defines action. This is no falsifying dream, a castle bulit in the air, but the omnipresent truth. He dreams about “in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.” Therefore, it is not the basic necessity of killing and eating that concerns him, but the style of it. Thus the hawk transforms into a metaphor of Supreme arrogance of Man where he is haunted by power. It echoes the Faustian Endeavor disregarding salvation, and Tughlaq ( Girish Karnad’s “Tughlaq”) who ventured to become another God. Aziz in the play “Tughlaq” stands as an aspect of Tughlaq when he asserts:” What's the point in raping for sheer lust? That's a mug's game. First one must have power, the authority to rape! Then everything takes on meaning.” Just as the Hawk avows that the style of preying on the weak is more significant than the act itself.

The trees are indeed convenient as they are high, enabling him to reach new heights. The air’s buoyancy enables him to float in the air, the suns rays lend him hope. These are all metaphors for circumstances that allow the hawk to stay in the position that he is. His being up, it appears to him as if the earth is laid down for his inspection. The poet affirms here how power is only a matter of perspective. The hawk’s narcissistic tendencies are strongly resonated in the lines:


My feet are locked upon the rough bark.

It took the whole of Creation

To produce my foot, my each feather:

Now I hold Creation in my foot







He is Creation personified as he professes, and by his flying up he can revolve all Creation .Creation here refers to God, as the word is capitalized. The line is a typical instance of a metaphysical conceit. As its position is topmost in the food-chain, it asserts triumphantly:” I kill where I please because it is all mine.” Critics have pointed out this as an instance of Fascism. By the term-‘sophistry’, the poet say that the physiology in his body does not abide by any rules. His way of life pertains to the tearing off all heads; suggesting that he is also above all moral and social laws. He decides the allotment of death. The path of his flight through the bones of the living is direct, there are no two ways about it.It is outrageously stark and true. He does not require any third person’s argument/certificate to claim his right. It existed on its own.


On an ending note, he declares that the sun is behind him. He has eclipsed the sun. To put it further, the sun lives in his shadow. Nothing is constant, as times passes. The composition of the entire universe is susceptible to change within fractions of seconds. However, the Hawk states that nothing has changed here, as his eye has not permitted it to. The word eye denotes both ‘vision’ and ‘insight’. The last line functions as an open challenge to the universal fact that change is inevitable:


“I am going to keep things like this.”



Hughes put forth his take on the poem in a 1971 interview. “Actually what I had in mind was that in this hawk Nature is thinking. Simply Nature. It’s not so simple because maybe Nature is no longer so simple.” Going by what the poet, Ted Hughes had in mind, it might pertain to the destructive aspect of nature (natural disasters) and instinctive violence of its irrational beings. According to this interpretation ,the last line: “I am going to keep things like this,” may read that Nature is going to maintain its original diversity and composition in opposition to man-induced natural calamities.(deforestation,global warming,pollution.etc)
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Hawk Roosting Analysis   السبت مايو 29, 2010 5:30 pm

ربنا يباركلنا فيك يارب بصراحة كتير علينا قوى كده................
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Hawk Roosting Analysis   الأحد مايو 30, 2010 12:45 am

شكرا جزيلاااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااااا
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Hawk Roosting Analysis
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