How is the idea of self-reflection brought forward in the poem "Pike" by Ted Hughes?The question was given as a thematic link question, so I had to choose two poems and do them. The problem is not...

How is the idea of self-reflection brought forward in the poem "Pike" by Ted Hughes?

The question was given as a thematic link question, so I had to choose two poems and do them. The problem is not about WHAT to write, but the time limit. So my real question is, should I discuss the part about the pike, and also self-reflection (and I honestly don't have time for that) or can I breeze over the pike itself and jump to self-reflection? If it's the second option, then how much do I write about the pike and what?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I think you should mention the pike briefly in order to set up the opposition between the pike (nature) and the narrator. The narrator describes the pike as a violent brute but its behavior is natural. One stanza that marks the self-reflection, indirectly, is:

Three we kept behind glass

Jungled in weed: three inches, four,

And four and a half: fed fry to them -

Suddenly there were two. Finally one.

The narrator repeatedly describes the pike's teeth and jaws, emphasizing its predatory nature. But since the narrator catches the pike and imprisons them in an aquarium, it is the narrator who is the imposing, predatory force.

So, maybe start with a brief description of the pike's natural, beautiful, yet violent life. And then spend the rest of your time on the narrator's/fisherman's self-reflection as he considers himself (rather than the pike) the violent disturber of the natural world.

Sources:

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