How does Ted Hughes skillfully use nature to reflect upon the aspects of human nature through the poem "Pike"?

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The poem "Pike" by Ted Hughes at first appears to be simply a poem about the birth and maturation of pike and a man that fishes in the pond or lake that the fish are living in.  The poem, about midway through, takes on a more menacing tone.  Hughes describes the pike's ferocious desire for survival and excellently describes just how well adapted the pike are to their natural habitat.  Charles Darwin would be proud.  Hughes describes all of this as if it were natural, which it is.  Readers might be horrified at the violence the pike is able to produce in order to survive, but that kind of killing for survival is what is normal for the natural world.  

Hughes uses this normality to comment on human nature.  Hughes portrays the fisherman as an invader to the pike's world, the world of the pond.  The pike isn't afraid of the man.  In fact the fish rises slowly toward the man and watches.  It feels as if Hughes is suggesting that the fish is letting the fisherman know "you're in my world now."  The biggest commentary on human nature through all of this is that humans are not as special as they think.  Mankind is simply a piece of the natural world.  Man has his own niche; he is a part of the natural world, not above it or ruling over it, but subject to all of its beauty and brutality. 

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