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Esthers Tomcat by Ted Hughs

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“Esthers Tomcat” by Ted Hughs is a lively and descriptive poem that tells you about the different sides and natures of cats. The poet uses many different figures of speech such as alliteration , similies and asonance to contrast the elegant and violent sides of this creature. The first line of the poem is very important. The first word “Daylong” has long stresses to help you notice how long the cat lies there for. “This tomcat” invites you into the poem. It is saying “this tomcat lying right here. ” “Stretched” also has long stresses to emphasise how far the cat is stretched out.

The next line describes the way the cat looks. “Flat as an old rough mat. ” This gives me the impression that the tomcat’s fur is sticking out this way and that. But it also describes the strength of the cat “Rough,” shows us that the cat is very rough when fighting and also how strong he is when fighting. “Rough” also describes how he feels when you stroke him. This is also effective use of a similie. “Continual wars and wives are what Have tattered his ears and battered his head” This part of the poem tells us how many fights the tomcat has been in. Wars and wives,” is a ood use of alliteration.

It shows us the most important part of the sentence, again emphasising the amount of fights and the amount of “wives” he has had. In the next line, we are told what has happened to the cat after his fights. “Tattered” and “battered” both have a short, quick rhythm to help us notice that he has these injuries after his fight. After reading this line, I got the image of a cat with big clumps of fur missing from its head and chunks out of its ears. The first line of the second verse stands out.

The description of the cat like a “bundle of old ope,” gives me the impression that cats coil up when they sleep. It also gives me a picture in my mind of a cat with hair sticking out all over the place. Ropes get frayed and thats what the cat looks like. Also the rope suggests the cats strength. Rope is made and inter-twinded to make it tougher and stronger. Hughes also makes a reference to “iron” in this line of the poem. This is also an emphasis of the cats strength. Iron is tough and strong and so is the cat.

I like how the poet keeps refering to the cats strength. His eyes, Green as ringstones” This is effective because he is describing the tomcats eyes like a precious jewel. It emphasises the roundness of its eyes. “Ringstones” are usually round, just like the cats’ eyes. This also gives the cat a bit of elegance as the poet describes the eyes of the cat like a jewel. The language is effective because it gives you a better picture of the eyes and how sparkly and shiny they are. He has also used highly visual imagery to emphasise the colour and the shape of the eyes. “yawns wide red” This is effective because it has long stresses.

It helps to “show” us the wide yawn and it engthens in rhythm. “Red” also tells us a lot. It shows us the colour of the cats mouth. It is also associated with blood, violence and death. The introduction of the medieval colours, green and red takes us into the anecdote which is about a knight. “Fangs, fine as a lady’s needle nice and bright” The poet is describing the cats’ teeth here. It is effective because he tells us that the teeth are sharp by using the words “Fangs, fine,” and “needle. ” he uses alliteration here also, to emphasise how pointed and sharp the teeth are. Bright,” also tells us that the teeth gleam in the light.

They are also described as a “lady’s needle. ” This gets me thinking about medieval times, which carries on into the next verse where and anecdote about a knight is placed. It seems to me that anecdote in the middle is to show how intelligent cat’s are. There is also a knight in the story who is wearing armour. The only part of the knight’s flesh that is showing is his neck, the most vunerable part. “Locked round his neck like a trap of hooks” This tells us that the cat {in the story} has dug his claws into the knights neck.

The “ck” sound hat is being repeated in “locked” and “hooked” is a hard sharp sound. This suggests that the cat is hard and tough, also that its claws are sharp. This anecdote suggests that the cat is powerful. If anything gets in their way, they will knock it down. This anecdote suggests that cats have supernatural powers. “Is unkillable” is making a reference to the supposed “nine lives” of cats. This line is also placed at the begining of a sentence, and a new verse. This emphisises the line and makes it stronger. It grabs your attention. This anecdote is also used to tell us about cats in general.

It tells us how vicious cats are. “Grallochs dogs on the quiet” tells us that cats are quite good at fighting. “Grallochs” tells us how vicious, strong and violent cats are. “On the quiet,” suggests the sneakiness of cats. Other aspects of the writers craft are enjambement and highly visual imagery. Enjambement is used a lot in this poem. A good example of this is “bekittensings…. amoung ashcans” It tells you about the creatures mating process. Then it brings you back down to earth. First in This verse, the poet tells us how cats are unkillable and then, bang, it hits you, “amoung ashcans”

He is describing cats as being so superior to us, but then describing the cats mating process like that brings you back down to earth. It seems to me that Ted Hughs respects cats. All of the thing he says in the poem tell us this. He thinks that cats are superior to men, that they are intelligent and unkillable. Their is also reference to how graceful cats’ are. “He leaps an lightly walks upon sleep” He makes use of alliteration here. “Leaps and lightly” emphasises how graceful cats are. “walks upon sleep” suggests the superiority of cats to men.

He wants us to understand that cats are not vil creatures, but are intelligent, beautiful, graceful animals. There is a lot of contrast used to describe the cats duel nature. Cat’s are noctunal creatures. Durind the day they are quite lethargic, and during the night they are lively and vicious. I get the impression that the poet is impressed by the cats’ strength and power. “His mind on the moon” gives me the impression that cats have supernatural powers. Cats are usually associated with evil and witches. In fairy tales they have magical qualities. The rhythm of the poem helps us to see the cat “stretched flat” in the first line.

The words n this quote have long vowels to emphasise just how much the cat is stretched out. The words in the first line have very long stresses. The last line in the first verse, “Have tattered his ears and battered his head, has quite a quick rhythm. In conclusion, I think that this poem has been written extremely well. It is very descriptive. It has made me see cats in a totally different way. I really hated cats. They looked really evil and seemed to hate me. But after reading this poem that has changed. The descriptions are really accurate and make cats seem beautiful and graceful, which I now think they are.

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