explore the way Muir decipts horses in the poem "horses"the horses and horses are totally two different poems

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shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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"Horses" by Edwin Muir looks at a world that has been radically altered by war. To look at how he depicts the horses themselves, you also have to look at how he depicts other things in the poem.

First, he establishes the fact that the world has been changed, "put to sleep," by war. Then, in line three, he says, the "strange horses came." By calling the horses "strange", Muir has created a bit of suspense for the reader, an expectation. Why are they strange? We are used to seeing horses, and they are almost always calm, beautiful animals that we use for various purposes, usually enjoyably. What has changed?

Then Muir begins a series of brief descriptions, showing what has happened to modern man's creations in the aftermath of the war. We have silent radios, tractors lying unused in fields, crashed planes, and rusty plows. All of mankind's tools and inventions have failed him. Then suddenly, unexpectedly the "strange horses" show up. They are strange because mankind has grown apart from the animals that they replaced with machines, but now they reappear, "shy and stubborn" and renew their covenant with mankind by pulling their plows and bearing their loads.

Muir finishes by showing how the horses, God's creations rather than man's, have given mankind hope, "Their coming was our beginning."

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richardsonle | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

This is an interpretations of Muir's poem The Horses, not of his other poem Horses!


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