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Explain that "Pike" deals with primitive energy

Ted Hughes had been obsessed with animals from early years. Many of his famous poems are based on animals. "The Jaguar", "Pike", "The Horses", "The Bull Moses", "An Otter", "Thrushes" and "Crow" are a few of many of his poems dealing with animals. The poem, "Pike" is an excellent example of Hughes' gift for imagining and describing nature at her most violent and predatory shape. It seeks the root of primitive energy, which is violent, irrational and deadly. Hughes in this poem recognises the primordial violent energy that defies and threatens all kinds of subordination to rational consciousness. Here lies human interest in the poem. So, "Pike" is a fine poem representing Hughes' pre-occupation with animals, his recognition of the violent primitive energy and his art of relating an animal with the primordial natural force in man. The poet suggests the violent and deadly nature of the pike in the beginning of the poem. It opens with an objective detail of the fish:

Pike, three inches long, perfect, Pike in all parts, green tigering the gold. Killers from the egg: The malevolent aged grin.They dance...

The words "tigering", "Killers" "malevolent" and "grin" imply that the dance is a macabre celebration of timeless instinctive destructiveness. The first four stanzas present the primitive horror in the subject-creature, the pike, through a series of evocative noun phrases. The I-speaker appears in the fifth stanza and reinforces the violence and horror in the pike through three brief anecdotes.

The first reference is to three pikes kept in an aquarium. The strongest of them ate up the other two. The second reference is to "Two, six pounds each", which killed each other in the willow-herb. The third is a reference to the pikes of giant size living in an old pond. These pikes are the embodiment of the mysterious foreboding inherent in nature. The speaker's experiences from these three incidents not only reaffirm the horror of the killer-fish but also gradually intensify the violence and mystery in the heart of man and nature.

So, the speaker in "Pike" recognises the inseparable primitive energy in animals. He becomes aware that the primitive violence is the evil "otherness", the animality in man.


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