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The imagery in Ted Hughes' poem "Pike"

Ted Hughes is outstanding in creating images in his poems most of which are written on animals. The poem 'Pike' produces a lot of imagery in our mind's eyes very vividly. In almost every line of the poem there is some kind of image. Side by side with such images the poet describes the inherent cruelty in the pike's nature.

The opening lines of the poem provides a graphic picture of some pikes-their sizes 'three inches long', their colour 'green tiggering the gold, and the teeth the malevolent aged grin'.

We find the vivid images of the pike when the poet gives the description of the various parts of its body and its style of movement. The jaws of the pike are 'hooked clamp and fangs' the gills 'kneading quietly and the pectorals'. We find the image of its swollen belly when the poet describes 'With a sag belly and the grin it was born with. We find the picture of willow herb among which the two big pikes lie dead. More minute image of the dead pike is found when the poet says:

One jammed past its gills down the other's gullet: The outside eye stared as a vice locks The same iron in this eye Though its film shrank in death.

Again, the word picture is vivid when the poet says the hair frozen on my head and the most vivid in the last two lines:

Darkness beneath night's darkness had freed, That rose slowly towards me, watching.

Ted Hughes has used imagery to convey the intended meanings. The images have been very carefully chosen to suggest the destructive instinct of the pike. Through the images the poet has tried to convey the theme of horror and violence. The poet has used the colour imagery such as 'green' 'gold' 'emarald' 'silhouette' 'amber' and 'darkness to suggest the dauntless sanguinary nature of the pike. Similarly, the word 'grin' has been repeatedly used to imply its killing nature and the violence involved in it. So the imagery used in the poem has very effectively been used to contribute to the theme of violence, danger and death caused by the pike and that are commonly visible in natural world


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