Diction And Imagery In Robert Penn Warren's Evening Hawk

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In his pom entitled “Evening Hawk”, Robert Penn Warren characterizes human nature by a transition between the flight of the hawk during the day and that of the bat, or the “Evening Hawk” during the night. The hawk, as it soars in daylight, portrays how humans appear in clear light of their peers, while the bat, cruising the night sky, symbolizes what humans hide within themselves. Warren effectively expresses the meaning of this poem and its serious mood by the use of diction and imagery to appeal to the reader’s perception of sight and sound. Throughout the first part of the poem, Warren describes the journey of the hawk in the daytime to symbolize how one’s character may seem to other beings. As an illustration, lines 8-9 state, “we hear/ …show more content…

In lines 15-16, “the last bat/ Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics”, the poet incorporates imagery and diction in these lines to allow the reader to visualize the flight of the bat in the night sky. Hieroglyphics is an ancient writing that may seem intricate or complicated to one. The poet uses this very word to describe man’s complicated character, how he may appear like he’s one way but in actuality is another, how he may appear good but is actually bad on the inside. Because the bat takes his flight during the night when nobody can see, man’s true character is hidden within himself where only he himself can see it. Furthermore, Warren uses the same elements in lines 19-21 to appeal to the reader’s perception of sound: “If there were no wind we might, we think, hear/ The earth grind on its axis, or history/ Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.” That is to say, if there were no distractions around, “no wind”, if everything were shown in clear light, one would be able to observe how time after time, or as “the earth [grinds] on its axis”, the wrongful character which humans conceal deep within, or “in darkness”. Thus, through the usage of the literary elements imagery and diction, Warren suggests the concept that the bat, taking flight in the night sky, represents man’s true character that he hides within

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