They Feed They Lion Analysis

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Just by reading the title of Philip Levine’s poem, “They Feed They Lion”, the reader is already given the implication that the poem may be somewhat cryptic to the non-analytic eye. After analyzing the title carefully, it becomes clear that the author was implying that the lion is a symbol for something bad. Just by deciphering this, one can deduce that the title is a metaphor for a group of people feeding into the said thing that is bad. Once the reader reads the poem several times though, it becomes painstakingly clear that the lion that Levine is talking about is the unprecedented hate that is so ingrained into human nature. A part of human nature that most members of the human race constantly feed into without fail. From the start of the poem, there is a post-apocalyptic and war-like tone to the writing. Levine gives descriptions of “ burlap sacks, out of bearing butter”, “ acids of rage, the candor of tar”, and “creosote, gasoline, drive shafts, wooden dollies”(Levine, 1-4). These are all characteristics of a society that is unpleasant to live in. The poem suggests that this is a result of the hatred of humans and the easiest way to “feed they lion” and make “they lion grow”(Levine 5). It gives off the a tone to the reader that there is war or that there once was war. Levine’s word usage is what gives the poem its unfortunate tone right from the start. Rather than choosing softer language, he starts his poem with words a phrases like “acids of rage” (Levine 3) and
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