The Heaven of Animals Essay
“The Heaven of Animals” by James Dickey is a contemplative poem about what heaven is like for animals. James Dickey uses a variety of different literary techniques and use of idyllic imagery to describe how heaven for each animal matches that animal’s habitat. This is shown in the first stanza ‘if they have lived in a wood, It is a wood’ this shows that the speaker’s idea of an animal’s heaven is its natural habitat, something it will remain in even after death. This portrays a connection between an animal and its home, as it is more than somewhere it stays; it is tied to the animal and has become a part of its being. In the second stanza James Dickey says that even though animals have “no souls” they still pass on to heaven where their instincts are perfect. As the animals can be pardoned for committing human sins such as ‘murder’ as in the animal kingdom this is accepted as primal instinct and natural .This suggests Dickey views animals as superior to humans .It can be seen as animals have a form of innocence and naivety which grants them access and pardon into heaven as they are too basic to commit a form of malicious sin that wouldn’t enable them to go to heaven. The line “The soft eyes open” is repeated in the second stanza and may refer to seeing with perfect clarity the world around. And as though only when the animals ascend to heaven do they see the world with perfect clarity and a more in depth judgement. The idea of perfection of the animals arises throughout the poem through a use of positive language such as ‘floating and ‘perfection’ this language makes the animals seem more superior to humans. The words floating and perfection create an image of angels floating in the air, looking down at the earth. The third stanza creates a hint of competition as nature is trying to match the perfection and beauty of the animals, “To match them, the landscape flowers, Outdoing, desperately Outdoing what is required”. The idea...
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