"Hawk Roosting” Commentary
The “Hawk Roosting” revolves around one key idea, control. Control is evident through various aspects of the poem and is a key factor of the theme. The theme of this piece being, although we stem from Creation, we are in control of our lives to a great extent due to our divine right of dominance. This idea is symbolized through the literal theme of the hawk’s control over life; “My feet are locked upon the rough bark. It took the whole of Creation to produce my foot, my each feather: Now I hold Creation in my foot”(lines 10-12). The irony of this stanza alone is sufficient enough to determine theme. The hawk’s foot, that took all of Creation to make, is locked upon a tree bark that is also made by Creation. Thus although both the tree and hawk are made by the same forces, the hawk still has control over the tree’s life by putting its foot on the tree’s bark. This theme can be taken to another level and be applied to man, who is symbolized by the powerful, superior hawk. Man is the dominant creation on land and exerts its power and control over other life forms, much like the hawk. Through various stylistic devices, Hughes successfully manages to create an excellent understanding of the theme.
Appointing the hawk as the speaker of the poem has a tremendous impact on effectively displaying theme. Hawks are known to be powerful, majestic, dignified, and superior life forms. Man is also known to have these features; therefore it is easy to draw a parallel between the two. There is such a great similarity between the two to the extent that the reader might think the speaker is a man if not for the title of the poem. Thus by creating such a strong parallel, Hughes effectively takes his theme onto a deeper, more metaphorical level. A significant salient feature of this poem is the use of first person point of view. By using first person point of view Hughes emphasizes the control and power of the hawk; “I kill where I please because it is...
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