Thursday, May 21, 2015


In "The Jaguar," other animals are actively mentioned - apes, tigers, humans and otherwise - in the zoo and are portrayed as static and lazy.  This is meant to contrast against the movements of the jaguar that has "wilderness of freedom" in his every step.  While the other animals are only compared to fire and the sun to show how degraded they are "the parrots shriek as if they were on fire... to attract the stroller with the nut," the jaguar has an inner fire, a "short fierce fuse" that makes him explosive and dangerous.  The jaguar does not acknowledge his imprisonment, "there's no cage to him," as his mind is off in the horizon and far away from the zoo.  
In comparison, "A Second Glance at a Jaguar" does not mention other beings, but goes much further into the mindset and movement of the jaguar.  The jaguar is moving, but it does not seem as smooth and elegant as the first poem.  Instead we read a jarring "hip going in and out of joint," and "his body is just the engine shoving it forward" expresses his movements like a machine but remains powerful.  Again there is fire imagery, with an inner rage that his kept alight and his head being carried "like a brazier of spilling embers." In this poem the jaguar is more in the mindset of an inherent and violent being, as he is compared to an Aztec disemboweller and a gangster, repeating a "drum-song of murder."  This seems to keep him as himself, as he is shown to be more aware of his imprisonment; the jaguar is "wearing himself to heavy ovals" and his movements have made a polished spot on the floor from his relentless pacing.  His body no longer seems like his own because his body had to adjust to the cage: "his head is like the worn down stump of another whole jaguar."  Yet "he coils, he flourishes" shows that he is still the main attraction to the watchers because he will always be an impressive hunter.

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