The poem ‘The Jaguar’ written by Ted Hughes describes the lifestyles of animals at a zoo and their different attitudes to entrapment in their cage. It compares the bored, lazy moods of the animals to the lively, adventurous mood of the jaguar, which does not see this confinement as a way of stopping him behaving as if it were in its natural environment. The poet’s clever use of techniques such as similes and metaphors clearly puts an image in our minds of the animal’s ways of life and gives an accurate interpretation of what we would normally see at a day at the zoo.
The poem describes the actions of the lazy, bored animals to the energetic mood of the jaguar. The animals are in fact so lazy and bored that they are ‘fatigued with indolence,’ in other words, their boredom exhausts them. They spend most of their time sleeping, making it very uninteresting for the visitors to watch. It then talks about the parrot, which ‘strut like cheap tarts’ to try and get some food from passers by. The guests are unimpressed with the animals, until they reach the jaguar’s cage, where they watch in amazement as the jaguar behaves as it would in the wild.
The supposed message is told through the jaguar escaping with its mind even though it is trapped in the cage. It tells us that even though we may be in some sort of physical confinement, we not have to stop us escaping with our minds, therefore behaving as we would on the outside.
The mood starts off as being drowsy and depressing, when we hear about the tiredness and boredom of the animals. There is a tone of sympathy felt for the suffering of the animals. Later in the poem, the tone with the jaguar’s energy is quite uplifting, with a lively and energetic mood to contrast the depressing mood from before.
The poem is structured into five stanzas, each with four lines. These lines are about equal in length. Sometimes a sentence is incomplete within a stanza, and then the sentence is finished at the start of the next...
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