The Jaguar By Ted Hughes

Essay by dodHigh School, 11th gradeB, March 2004

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This poem 'The Jaguar' was written by Ted Hughes, he tries to capture the mood of a post war, 1950's zoo. He depicts the animals as hot, lazy and lethargic. This is because they have been captive for a long stretch of time. The animals are not lively but are dull and lifeless. He uses the expression 'stinks of sleepers from the breathing straw' to show this. He then unveils the jaguar as being live and vivid. 'At a jaguar hurrying enraged.' 'The Jaguar' longs for freedom physically but is free mentally. Hughes has a few main themes in this poem. The obvious one is how the animals in zoos feel like and that the are in 'prisons'. Also it could be the anger and strife of the Jaguar to be free and it represents this to the other animals.

The first two verses in the poem are crucial to set the scene.

It depicts the animals as almost dead. It lays the stage for the jaguar to be a complete contrast to the rest of the zoo. To show the laziness Hughes uses imagery particularly well.

The parrots are the main subjects in the 1st verse. He describes them as shrieking and begging humans. 'The parrots shriek as if they were on fire, or strut like cheap tarts to attract the stroller with the nut.' This shows the noise they make and the way they act up to humans so they can get food, which is not natural. The comparison with parrots and prostitutes seems off the wall at first but its very good. When you think about it deeper it works. 'Fatigued with indolence, tiger and lion Lie still as the sun.' This is an oxymoron, this really means tired of doing nothing.

Hughes uses enjambment to capture...