Edward Lear

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Can you provide a summary of Edward Lear's poem "The Duck and the Kangaroo"?

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This poem has five parts.

In part I, the Duck addresses the Kangaroo, expressing envy for his ability to hop all over the place. In contrast, the Duck states he is bored in his "nasty pond" and "longs" to explore the world.

In part II, the Duck asks the Kangaroo to take him for ride on his back so he can see more of the world. He promises to sit quietly and say nothing but "Quack."

In part III, the Kangaroo speaks for the first time. He tells the Duck that he will have to think about this proposal. He states "one objection," which is that the Duck has cold and wet feet. They would probably give him, the Kangaroo, rheumatism.

In part IV, the Duck reassures the Kangaroo he has thought about those problems already and is prepared to bring four pairs of socks, cigars, and a cloak to keep himself—and hence the Kangaroo—warm.

In part V, having worked out their compromise, the Duck and the Kangaroo go hopping around the world three times and are happy.

The poem shows the value of working together and compromising with another individual so that both parties can be happy.

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While this poem seems to be nonsensical, there seems to be another lesson to be learned. The duck is discontent with life and sees the kangaroo's life as being more exciting and adventurous. The duck entreats the kangaroo for a ride. The kangaroo objects only because the duck is sure to have cold feet. The duck assures the kangaroo that several pairs of warm socks, a cloak and a cigar should keep the cold at bay. The seems silly, yes, but also the duck is taking on features not natural to his or her nature. In a sense the duck has to make changes not true to self in order to experience the life of another. The kangaroo gives in to the ducks request, but how long can this situation be satisfying when both parties are taking on unnatural characteristics?

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