The Eagle Essay

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Robisch is an assistant professor of ecological and American literature atPurdue University. In the following essay, he focuses on the mythic eagle versus the physical eagle in Tennyson's poetic fragment.

Birds have long been known as the representatives of the flight of the soul and as mediators between heaven and earth. They have been characterized according to the traits that seem most dominant to the writers who watch them; the crow's blackness, the lark's song, the peacock's plumage. In poetry as a whole—but very often in poems about birds, it seems—readers learn about the poet's own preferences, about some personal condition, or a general human condition, that the poet wishes to symbolize through the bird. The real characteristics of the bird are limited to the ones most useful for the poem, and so what readers finally envision in the writing is sometimes less the actual bird...

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This section contains 2,015 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Eagle Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Eagle from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.