Hawk Roosting Critical Essay

Hawk Roosting: Critical Essay Kieran Mooney Task: Choose a poem which is a specific poetic form. Show how the particular form helped your appreciation of the ideas and/or feelings which the poem explores. In your answer you must refer closely to the text and at least two of; form, theme, imagery, or any other appropriate features. “Hawk Roosting” is a poem by Ted Hughes. The poem helps the reader appreciate the ideas and feelings which are explored throughout the poem.

This is skilfully done through form, imagery and word choice over the course of the poem. The poem is about a hawk resting high up in a tree. Through a monologue, the poem reveals the hawk to be a steady-minded, rational and believable character. In the first stanza, the poet begins to hint to the reader what sort of personality the hawk has. He does this in the first line if the poem: “I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed” This suggests to the reader that the hawk has no fear. This is shown by the words ‘eyes closed’.

The word ‘top’ signifies that the hawk is the top in the forest and that he rules the forest, and that there is nobody above, or more powerful than him. The hawk is again referred to being powerful in the line: “Between my hooked head and hooked feet” In this line the alliteration of ‘h’ together with the assonance in ‘oo’ makes the reader drag out the word ‘hooked’, which emphasises the word and the hard harsh sound contained in it. This portrays a dangerous and rugged view of the hawk. Stanza two shows the reader that the hawk believes the elements that are there are ‘of advantage’ to him: The air’s buoyance and the sun’s ray, Are of advantage to me” This shows the hawk feels everything is there to assist him, and that he is the reason all the elements exist. The poet uses personification to describe the ‘air’ and the ‘sun’, this tells the reader the hawk feels they are on his side and he rules them, like a general inspecting his troops. This idea is continued in stanza three with: “And the earth’s face upwards for my inspection” This again makes the reader aware of the hawk’s superiority and reminds them that the hawk is not going to give up his position without a fight.

The hawk goes on to tell the reader: “It took the whole of Creation to produce my foot, my each feather. Now I hold creation in my foot” This shows the hawk is a well-designed creature, and is perfectly adapted for living in the woods. The quote also shows the hawk to be arrogant and obnoxious, as he feels he is better that his Creator, God, as having exceeded him. In Stanza four the idea of superiority is shown present once again: “I kill where I please because it is all mine” This clearly states where the hawk believes he stands, and shows that he has no remorse for any of the other creatures.

The idea that the hawk is a ruthless killer, and he kills his prey without a second thought, culpability or being beleaguered by his integrity. The hawk again shows his power: “There is no sophistry in my body. My manners are tearing off heads” This show to the reader that the hawk to be lethal and vicious. It also shows that because he is on top, the hawk does not need to be polite, respectful or sophisticated, and that he feels no empathy for their pain or suffering, and has no regard to killing them.

This further shows his merciless nature. The fifth stanza is the hawk describing his home as ‘the allotment of death’. This shows the reader the hawk has total power and control over everything and reinforces the fact that he feels he can kill what and where he likes without any consideration. It also tells us: “For the one path of m flight is direct, through the bones of the living” This gives the reader an extremely gruesome and graphic image of the hawk killing its prey, and shows us the reality of his predator behaviour.

It also links back to ‘no sophistry’ and ‘tearing off head’ to strengthen the fact that he is a powerful cold blooded killer. We are told: “No arguments assert my right” This demonstrates that the hawk is indeed the top predator in the forest and that nobody dares to challenge him for his position. In the final stanza, stanza six, we are given a haughty, self-flattering closing statement from the hawk: “Nothing has changed since I began. My eye has permitted no change.

I am going to keep thing like this” This shows us the hawk is well aware of the effect he has on the environment and is instinctive in his actions. He is content with the way things have turned out and are not going to let them change easily, especially as the odds are in his favour. he is going to try keep things running his way as changing things would upset the natural rhythm of life. In conclusion, “Hawk Roosting” is a poem which helps the reader appreciate the ideas and feelings which are explored throughout the poem, through the poets use of imagery and word choice throughout the poem. [900 words]

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