This essay will discuss and explain certain techniques Ted Hughes uses, such as personification, in his poem `Hawk Roosting`. To add to this, it will also discuss and try to elaborate upon how this poem is structured and how the way that it is written contributes towards the effect of the poem upon the reader.
A main technique that Ted Hughes uses in this poem is personification. There are many examples of this throughout the poem, one of them being `my eyes closed`. This is taken from the second half of the first line of the poem. This is a clear example of personification as it is written in the first person. The word `my` shows this. To add to this, Ted Hughes, in many places puts a pronoun in the first person directly before a part of the body. For example `my hooked head` or `My feet` are both instances where this particular technique within the broad technique of personification is used. The fact that the author includes body parts which are only from the human body makes the hawk seem even more human. If Ted Hughes had written about body parts such as talons or claws, it would have made the creature less human as humans do not have talons or claws. The use of personification also makes the hawk seem very ignorant as if it was in charge. This is so, by the repetitive use of the words `I` and `Me`. Through the duration of the poem the readers are always reminded that the fowl is in charge and can do what it wants. An example of this would be `I kill where I please because it is all mine.` This shows that the hawk thinks that he is in charge, not only through the use of the word `I` but the fact that he says `it is all mine.` Another word which shows this is the word `inspection`. This word is located in the final line of the second stanza. Generally, inspectors are people with quite a high rank as they get to see whether everything is to their liking or not. In other words, they are utterly in charge, and because the hawk is, in this case, comparing itself to an inspector, it again shows that he thinks of himself very highly and that he also thinks that he is totally in charge of everything.
The hawk has a slight oxymoronic value to itself aswell, as it says `My manners are tearing off heads`. This is oxymoronic as manners are associated with good things such as saying please and thank you. In this case, the oxymoronic bird thinks of manners in a totally different way. `Tearing off heads` is obviously a bad thing to do, but this hawk associates `tearing off heads` with `manners` when the two words totally contrast. This also again goes back to the point about the hawk being in charge of everything as it is `tearing off heads` and there is no one or nothing which will go in the hawk`s way, and try to prevent it from doing so. In this poem, Ted Hughes makes nature is brutal: it ‘kills’ and ‘eats’. What’s slightly disturbing is that the hawk views these as ‘perfect’ and ‘rehearses them’. This almost gives the feel of a psychopath, yet he is only fulfilling his natural function. The repetition of ‘hooked’ from his head to his feet creates a feel of being captured, evoking his sharp, deadly beak and claws. These are the parts that the hawk emphasizes when he describes himself.
The hawk deals in ‘death’. Ted Hughes uses the metaphor of the bird flying directly ‘through the bones of the living’. The uneasy juxtaposition of bones with living creates an unsettling effect, and makes the bird seem almost supernaturally powerful: as if he exists beyond this one moment in time. The hawk lists natural features: ‘sun’, ‘air’ and the ‘tree’, which he thinks exist only in as much as they are of ‘advantage to me’. He also says it took ‘the whole of Creation’ to produce his ‘feather’ and ‘foot’: the juxtaposition of something so huge and old, and biblical against a tiny foot/feather, shows how magnificent the bird thinks he is: as if he is the reason creation exists. This is interesting because it