This speaker’s tone can be described as funereal and somber; he seems troubled by popular attitudes towards death and aging.
5. Who is the intended audience? How do you know? The poem’s audience encompasses the entire human race, evidenced by its universal message. The narrator speaks to his fellow men as an equal, hoping to enlighten mankind about aspects of life which affect all.
6. What is the occasion surrounding the poem? The speaker realizes that he is nearing the end of his life, and thus he decides to contemplate the process of aging which he has undergone. In doing so, he reflects on mime, death, and the nature of life itself.
7. What is the setting? (hour, season, century, etc. ) The poem takes place in the natural setting through which a hawk would view the world. The reader assesses the poem through the perspective of this hawk flying through the sky and therefore encounters nature in this manner.
8. What is the central purpose of the poem? Author Robert Penn Warren writes “Evening Hawk” in order to convey his beliefs about existence to the reader. Warren portrays time as an unalterable facet of life which looms ever-present amidst the human Journey. He urges readers to face death thou fear or regret and to take full advantage of the time they each have left.
Warren feels that most people choose to foolishly ignore the possibility of death and decline and become preoccupied with inconsequential trivialities. His message to readers is that they must always realize that death looms on their horizons and to therefore live each moment as if it was their last. He encourages each individual to utilize the short time that he does possess in a way that is meaningful and full of deliberate purpose.
9. Summarize the events of the poem. In the first stanza, the speaker begins his depiction of a hawk’s flight; the hawk erroneous over trees, flowers, and fields while the sun slowly sets.
This sunset introduces shadow and darkness into an environment previously filled with radiant light. This stanza portrays man sailing blindly through life, never foreseeing his ultimate end. The second stanza depicts the methodical flapping of the hawks wings as he flies through his natural path each day. These lines serve as a metaphor for man passing day by day through existence, constantly approaching death. The third stanza contains a singular line, which describes the “stalks” that the hawk’s wings cut down.
Our error” refers to the mistake of ignoring this passage of time and not utilizing each day as the window of opportunity that it is. In the fourth stanza, the hawk suddenly approaches the limit of its Journey and reaches the point at which light ends and darkness begins. “Last light” refers both to the sun and to God; man comes to the end of his life and discovers the Creator. This is evidences by the description of this “last light” as “[knowing] neither Time nor error. ” God is the only being which is exempt from age and thus does not forgive the failings of mortal men.
In the fifth stanza, the speaker writes of a “thrush” and “bat” ether than the hawk. Although the individual may perish, time nonetheless continues Just as it always has. The “star” is again mentioned, still “steady’ and unchanging. The sixth stanza is the speaker’s lament that “wind” prohibits men from perceiving the true nature of time. This “wind” signifies the insignificant distractions which divert men from the essential elements of their Journeys. If man would focus on the aspects of life which genuinely merit attention, he would notice the continual progress of time in his life that is sometimes slow but always certain. 10.
Discuss the diction (word choice) of the poem. Point out words that are particularly well chosen or strong and explain why you think so and what those words add to the poem. (at least 4 words)
A. The phrase “black angularity of shadow’ in the first stanza is notable in that it reflects the speaker’s impending demise amid the abundant light. The “shadow’ is the first sign of the death and decay which will soon follow a sky that has been filled with brightness.
B. “Scythes” is crucial to the reader’s understanding of the second stanza; the “scythe” is an agricultural hand-tool normally used as a noun, utilized in this instance as a verb.
This word introduces an extended metaphor which continues throughout the second and third stanzas.
C. “Grind” in the final stanza establishes tone for the poem as a whole. The unpleasant connotation of this word indicates that the earth travels through time ridden with conflict and cruelty. Daily life is often a struggle that can serve as a blinding distraction.
D. “Drip” also contributes to the poem’s overall tone and discusses time as a certain and irrevocable force. While man forges ahead through the petty grievances of daily existence, he does not stop to notice the time which passes him by.
This gradual process is obvious to those who seek to understand it, yet most individuals do not possess the self-awareness necessary for this discovery.
1 1 . Discuss the imagery.
What kinds of images are used? Is there any structure to the imagery? Explain.
A. The “tumultuous avalanche of light” in the first stanza is a visual image which reflects the conflict that often occurs in the midst of the human Journey. The “light” recalls the individual’s continual quest for truth and enlightenment, but this quest is beset WI many trials and obstacles. Though truth may be a highly valuable commodity, the oath to obtaining it is not an easy one. . The visual imagery in the second and third stanzas establishes an extended metaphor. The hawk soars through time like a scythe cutting through stalks of wheat. Man’s existence is essentially similar to this action.
C. The visual imagery of darkness throughout the poem is a recurring motif which contrasts the images of light that also appear. This darkness depicts death as a sill onlooker who waits for every man whether he chooses to acknowledge death or no
D. The visual and auditory imagery in the final stanza highlights the intricacies of Ii which man fails to grasp because of useless interferences.
He does not notice the daily passage of time due to the many tribulations of his Journey. Imagery in “Evening Hawk” is nearly omnipresent, and the poem as a whole consist of one representative image after another. Warren utilizes imagery as the device through which he chooses to communicate theme to the reader. Each image contain a specific purpose which contributes to the poem’s overarching message.
12. Point out and explain any symbols. If the poem is allegorical, explain the allegory. The symbol of the hawk throughout the poem represents each individual’s voyage wrought the stormy seas of existence.
The hawk soars through bright skies until he reaches the sky limit and encounters impenetrable darkness. In the same way, m lives each day blinded by his own life and eventually reaches a death he did not foresee. “Evening” in the poem’s title references the speaker’s age; at the time whew he writes this poem, the speaker is nearing his own death. The light in the poem symbolizes both truth and life, while the darkness symbolizes death and degeneration. 13. Point out any examples of the following and explain their significance:
A. Metaphor: “Last light” in the fourth stanza is a metaphor which references God.
The Creator “knows neither time nor error” and is the only being in the universe who ca escape death. This metaphor is significant because it portrays God as being indifferent to the sufferings of humanity and utterly detached from the world which he has created. This is evident by the line: “Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiving. “
B. Simile: The final line of the fifth stanza contains a simile when it compares the s to Plato, a classical Greek philosopher who pondered the very existential questions which this poem explores.
This comparison, which is also a conceit, highlights unchanging realities which permeate life from one century to the next. Plato discusses these same issues many centuries ago, Just as the sun shines on man exactly the same from one year to the next. C. Personification: The “stalks of time” in the second and third stanzas take on hum qualities when the speaker writes about each stalks “head” and “crashes fall. ” HTH personification is noteworthy in that it underscores the qualities of human life hi these “stalks” represent. This is evident by the line: “The head of each stalk is he with the gold of our error. . Allusion: In addition to the previously discussed allusion to Plato, the poem also uses the verb “scythes. ” A scythe is an agricultural hand tool used for harvesting wheat. Notable in this allusion is that the “Grim Reaper” is almost always seen in popular imagery carrying this tool. The scythe’s connection to death reinforces the poem’s theme. “Hieroglyphics ” are also mentioned; this ancient Egyptian symbol-writing exemplifies the timeless quality which the hawks flight represents. E. Enjambment: The carrying over of thoughts from one line to the next in this poem mimics the flight of the symbolic hawk.
Each stanza in the poem is one sentence, with each stanza encompassing one phase of the hawks flight. 14. Point out any significant examples of sound devices and/or repetition and explain their function. Determine if any sounds in the poem relate to topics discussed within the poem (for example, short, choppy syllables with repeated “e” sounds could relate to a chirping bird discussed in the poem). Alliteration is present in the phrase “guttural gorge” in the first stanza. This calls attention to the phrase, which the speaker uses to describe the area over which the hawk flies.
This description of the earth as a “guttural gorge” is notable for its stark contrast to the sky through which the hawk travels, and this seems to indicate that the hawk overlooks the earth over which he glides. The first stanza contains repetition of the word “plane” when speaking of the light. This portrays the light as consisting of multiple tiers or levels, similar to the phases of an individual’s life. “Shadow’ is also repeated in different stanzas, which establishes the motif of life opposing death. “Time” appears multiple times as well, as it is the poem’s primary topic of discussion.
Look” repeats in the fourth stanza; this is remarkable in that it is the only part of the poem in which the speaker directly addresses the audience. The timing of this address is also significant because this point is the climax of the hawks flight. 15. State the form or pattern of the poem (line length-?in syllables, stanza length, number of stanzas, etc. ) “Evening Hawk” is written in free verse, and it contains six stanzas. There are six lines in the first stanza, four lines in the second stanza, one line in the third stanza, four lines in the fourth stanza, five lines in the fifth stanza, ND three lines in the sixth stanza.
6. How is the poem constructed? What are its units of organization? How are these units linked together? The structure of “Evening Hawk” is based upon the extended metaphor of the hawks flight. For the most part, each of the first four stanzas depicts a stage of this Journey. Each stanza encompasses one complete sentence, and these sentences are interrupted intermittently by the appearance of commas and exclamation points which mimic the flapping of the hawks wings. Evidence of this lies in the fourth stanza, when two exclamation points are present.