Analysis "On Being Human" Essay

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Pages: 4

Poetry analysis: On Being Human, by C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis gets straight to the point in his first lines, particularly with the first two words 'angelic minds.' Readers will discern immediately that Lewis is going to discuss the concept of experience from the viewpoint of supernatural non-human beings such as angels. Readers may also guess, by comparing this idea to the poems title 'On Being Human,' that he intends to go on to compare this idea with our experience of the world from the implied lowliness of mankind's perspective.
Students may wonder where the latter implication comes from, and in this, at the beginning of the poem at least, C.S. Lewis is no help at all in referring to a mysterious 'they' who apparently hold that angels
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Then follows a series of ravishing images, deftly painted by Lewis, of the 'drinking-in' of experiences of nature's loveliness - such as the sweetness of a peach basking in the warmth of a sunlit wall or the delightfully natural fragrances of the countryside. Here Lewis picks up again the comical atmosphere that underlies the conversational narrative style of the poem, adding that angels are unable to appreciate the delights of the fragrance of the field, new mown hay, the sea smells and the therapeutic incense of wood smoke. With humor he bluntly posits that an angel has no nose!
The poet then appears to struggle between two possibilities - firstly that angels get the best deal as they are not burdened with the five confusing senses. Conversely, he wonders whether humans are the better off of the two beings. After all, they are guarded from the shock of perceiving the whole of existence 'the heavens' at once, because mankind's distracting senses obscure the truth of it.
Crucially, in terms of understanding Lewis's own opinion on the subject, the poet draws attention to the way in which God himself may want us to have one small area of our personalities devoted to appreciating the environment through our senses. Perhaps in so doing we are the better able to comprehend the sheer scale of the wonders of nature and sense that He has provided for our happiness. The angels with their