Themes And Criticism In The Wild Duck's Nest

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Humans are often afraid of animals, however poets such as Randolph Stow use animals to convey deeper emotional and philosophical thoughts and to create a sense of morality and ethics. This is visible in his poem The Wild Duck’s Nest, where the subject matter, themes and the literary devices promote the message: humans are the ones to be afraid of, as the creatures that humans often fear are even more frightened of us.
The poem describes the encounter between some animals and two hunters looking to find some prey. The hunters, at first, see and experience a very serene and quiet location where they find some eggs, which they pity as they think that the eggs will be eaten before the creature inside will even live. After this, the silence is broken by two kangaroos, whom, at the sight of the two men is terrified, turn and run away, triggering many birds to rise from the trees and fly away.
Randolph Stow conveys the theme of humans being the real creatures to be afraid of,
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The two hunter’s feel pity towards the eggs that they see, as they feel that most of them are going to be killed before the animal inside is even able to see the light of day, however this is ironic, as these hunter’s themselves are here to steal that light from the animals, which is made even worse when considering that the eggs would be killed for nourishment, while the humans will be killing for pleasure. The poet makes this irony even more effective in creating a sense of ethics in the reader by having the title of the poem as The Wild Duck’s Nest, even though that is not what the poem is about.
Randolph Stow uses animals to successfully convey deeper emotional and philosophical thoughts and to create a sense of morality and ethics with the subject matter, theme and the literary devices. Through this, the reader realizes the message: humans are the ones to be afraid of, as the creatures that humans often fear are even more frightened of
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