Hyena.notebook. April 08, 2014

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1 HYENA This poem, like Slate and Winter, deals with nature, or the natural environment. Getting in Before you read the poem, think about these questions: 1. What is your favourite animal? What do you like about it? 2. Which animals do you find frightening? Why do you feel this way about them? 3. Are there any animals you find disturbing or disgusting? Why do you feel this way about them? Feb 6 09:16 1

2 Hyena.notebook Narrator Describe the narrator's Strengths Appearance Surroundings Food Sound Feb 7 09:25 2

3 Setting Describe the setting's appearance comfort heat resources inhabitants Feb 7 09:38 3

4 Dramatic monologue All those uses of the word I help us to realise that Hyena is a dramatic monologue narrated in first person. The word monologue tells us that there is only one person or rather, in this case, one hyena talking. The speaker carries on uninterrupted, rather than taking part in a conversation. The word dramatic means that the speaker is not on his own and talking to himself, but that someone else is supposed to be there listening. We are never meant to think that the speaker in a dramatic monologue is the voice of the poet. The speaker is a distinct character that the author has invented. This kind of character is sometimes called a persona. The difference between an author and his persona is like the difference between an actor and his character. One feature of dramatic monologues is that their speakers often let slip some of their nastier or more unpleasant thoughts, habits or actions. Feb 7 09:41 4

5 Poem of Address Who is the hyena speaking to? Find evidence to support your answer. In this poem the hyena is talking directly to us, the readers. We know this from the very first line, I am waiting for you. However he s going a little bit further too. It is as if we, the readers, are standing in for and representing the whole of humanity. So, by talking to us, the hyena can say what he wants to say to all humans, and can show what he thinks of all humans. You may have noticed already that he does not seem to have a very high opinion of us. Feb 7 09:43 5

6 Many cultures have historically viewed the hyena in a bad light. Negative associations have generally stemmed from hyenas' tendency to scavenge graves for food. They are one of the few creatures naturally suited for this, due to their ability to devour and digest every part of a carcass, including bone. As such, many associate hyenas with gluttony, uncleanliness and cowardice. The haunting laughter like calls of the Spotted Hyena inspired the idea in local cultures that they could imitate human voices and call their victims by name. Hyenas are also associated with divination and sometimes thought of as tools of demons and witches. In African folklore, witches and sorcerers are thought to ride hyenas or even turn into them. Feb 13 14:55 6

7 Stanza One I am waiting for you. I have been travelling all morning through the bush and not eaten. I am lying at the edge of the bush on a dusty path that leads from the burnt out kraal. 5 I am panting, it is midday, I found no water hole. I am very fierce without food and although my eyes are screwed to slits against the sun you must believe I am prepared to spring. Feb 7 09:46 7

8 Stanza Two There are three similes in this stanza. (Remember, a simile is when one thing is compared to another using the word like or the word as.) Find the three similes and write them down What do all these similes have in common? What do you think of me? 10 I have a rough coat like Africa. I am crafty with dark spots like the bush tufted plains of Africa. I sprawl as a shaggy bundle of gathered energy like Africa sprawling in its waters. 15 I trot, I lope, I slaver, I am a ranger. I hunch my shoulders. I eat the dead. Feb 7 09:49 8

9 Stanza Three veldt = an area of open grassland. Do you like my song? When the moon pours hard and cold on the veldt I sing, and I am the slave of darkness. 20 Over the stone walls and the mud walls and the ruined places and the owls, the moonlight falls. I sniff a broken drum. I bristle. My pelt is silver. I howl my song to the moon up it goes. Would you meet me there in the waste places? 25 Feb 7 10:03 9

10 Stanza Four It is said I am a good match for a dead lion. I put my muzzle at his golden flanks, and tear. He Is my golden supper, but my tastes are easy. I have a crowd of fangs, and I use them. 30 Oh and my tongue do you like me When it comes lolling out over my jaw very long, and I am laughing? I am not laughing. But I am not snarling either, only 35 panting in the sun, showing you what I grip carrion with. Feb 7 10:03 10

11 Stanza Five I am waiting for the foot to slide, 40 for the heart to seize, for the leaping sinews to go slack, for the fight to the death to be fought to the death, for a glazing eye and a rumour of blood. I am crouching in my dry shadows 45 till you are ready for me. My place is to pick you clean and leave your bones to the wind. Feb 7 10:13 11

12 Interpretation One Some readers think that the hyena himself has delusions of grandeur. He thinks he is an awesome beast, and something to be terrified of. He is a legend in his own mind. However, he is only fierce when his enemy is dead. The poem finally condemns the hyena for thinking he s wonderful when he s just a cowardly scavenger Interpretation Two Some readers think the poem warns us humans not to have delusions of grandeur. The hyena is there to remind us that in the end we ll all be dead, and all our achievements come to an end. His references to human violence when he mentions the burnt out kraal warn us not to have too high an opinion of ourselves because humans are basically destructive and violent. The poem finally condemns us for thinking we are the pinnacle of evolution when we re just vicious and violent. Interpretation Two Feb 7 10:30 12

13 1. Using at least two quotations from the poem to support what you say, write a paragraph to explain how the hyena comes across as an unnerving character, a character who unsettles or disturbs us. 2. Using at least two quotations to support what you say, write a paragraph to explain how the hyena comes across as a figure of death. 3. Now work with a partner if you can. Try to prove, again using at least two quotations from the poem, that Morgan does have at least something positive to say about the hyena. 4. Still working with your partner, prove that Morgan can also make the reader feel sympathy for the hyena. Feb 7 10:33 13

14 Feb 24 08:24 14

CONTENTS. 1. Homework Instructions. 2. Slate example of an annotated poem. 3. In The Snack Bar. 4. Trio. 5. Hyena. 6. Winter. 7.

CONTENTS. 1. Homework Instructions. 2. Slate example of an annotated poem. 3. In The Snack Bar. 4. Trio. 5. Hyena. 6. Winter. 7. CONTENTS 1. Homework Instructions 2. Slate example of an annotated poem 3. In The Snack Bar 4. Trio 5. Hyena 6. Winter 7. Good Friday Edwin Morgan Homework Instructions You should have a printed version

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