The Tiger and the Pig

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Comparing two poems

TASK
After taking part in a discussion in class about two poems. William Blake’s’ ‘The Tiger’ published in 1794 and ‘View of a Pig’ by Ted Hughes published in the 1960’s.

Question 1
How do the poets’ attitudes to their respective animals differ? Firstly I think that in Hughes’ ‘View of a Pig’, it seems the poet has a kind of morbid fascination with the carcass of the animal. This is derived from the fact that there is a theme of deadness repeated throughout the poem. He seems fascinated with the ‘deadness’ of the pig. ‘Set in death, seemed not just dead’, ‘It was too dead’ and ‘too deadly factual’. Such strong imagery of nothingness felt towards the pig. In ‘The Tiger’ by Blake, the poet has more of an idealised view but an intrigue towards the tiger. This is shown by the echo of questions throughout the poem. This makes his wonder and interest clear. He also has the upmost respect for The Tiger, ‘what immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry?’ Here I believe the poet is asking what kind of ‘Being’ created him, God or the Devil? They have created something so fearful and yet so beautiful. Again this is in contrast to The Pig in Hughes’ poem. The poet says ‘It was not a figure of fun, ‘Too dead to pity.’ The Pig in his mind has become meaningless. I believe he has no feelings at all towards The Pig. Whereas Hughes is in total awe of The Tiger, this magical, fire like animal.

Question 2
What words/phrases do the poets use to suggest the power or lack of that their animals possess? In Hughes ‘View of a Pig’, ‘like a sack of wheat. I thumped it…’ Shows a solid, (shown with the sack of wheat) disrespect for The Pig who can no longer fight back. The ‘lifeless’ lump of meat, no longer an animal or something to be respected. Poundage of lard and pork.’ This again reinforcing that The Pig is no longer an animal, a living creature. He is now just food, part of the food chain and at the bottom of that chain. He is powerless....
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