“The Jaguar”


The Jaguar

The apes yawn and adore their fleas in the sun.

The parrots shriek as if they were on fire, or strut

Like cheap tarts to attract the stroller with the nut.

Fatigued with indolence, tiger and lion


Lie still as the sun. The boa-constrictor’s coil

Is a fossil. Cage after cage seems empty, or

Stinks of sleepers from the breathing straw.

It might be painted on a nursery wall.


But who runs like the rest past these arrives

At a cage where the crowd stands, stares, mesmerized,

As a child at a dream, at a jaguar hurrying enraged

Through prison darkness after the drills of his eyes


On a short fierce fuse. Not in boredom—

The eye satisfied to be blind in fire,

By the bang of blood in the brain deaf the ear—

He spins from the bars, but there’s no cage to him


More than to the visionary his cell:

His stride is wildernesses of freedom:

The world rolls under the long thrust of his heel.

Over the cage floor the horizons come.

 by Ted Hughes

Paying close attention to your structure (TEEL), write an analytical paragraph about “The Jaguar”. Be as insightful as you can. Also, make sure you link to your thesis, which is as follows:

Meanings within poems are accessible to everyone because they are messages about life.


55 responses

  1. Meanings within poems are accessible to everyone because they are messages about life as a caged animal and they feelings of indolence, rage and joy. Within the first line the poet has used assonance to lengthen the line and emphasize the yawning. The second line uses onomatopoeia and sibilance in shriek and strut to create a vivid mental image. The personification in strut and shriek allow your mind to build a life like image that is easily related too. The poet has used ‘t’ sounds in the third line to create a short and sharp line, catching readers attention. The fourth line uses distinct words such as fatigued and indolence to describe their lack of natural movement. The poet uses a rhyming pattern of A, B, B, C to build fluency and keep the reader interested. The meanings within this poem are easily accessible through many poetic devices such as assonance and sibilance providing messages about life.

  2. The meaning of “The Jaguar” is accessible to everyone because it explores the feelings of longing to be free and hopelessness, which are messages about life, through the use of caged Jaguar as the subject. The subject of the poem starts off in the first two stanzas as the hopeless and depressed zoo life of several animals. However, the subject goes on to a Jaguar that is “hurrying enraged through prison darkness,” and that “spins from the bars,” a Jaguar that sees “no cage to him more than to the visionary his cell: His stride is wildernesses of freedom.” Yet, the reader is reminded of the hopelessness of this longing to be free, as experienced by most of the other zoo animals, by the last line “over the cage floor the horizons come,” which essentially means that the previously evident powerful and majestic Jaguar is now confined to a considerably small dominion and a narrow view. This subject of the caged Jaguar is a deep comparison to the life messages of longing to be free and hopelessness, making the meaning accessible to everyone.

  3. The poet of ‘The Jaguar’ has chosen to convey a message accessible to his readers, about animal rights, which can be related to emotions experienced by the reader. Describing the bleak, depressing and indolent lives of caged animals in zoos, the poet explains emotions indolence, anger and happiness, which the reader can relate to. Throughout the entire poem, poetic devices for the mind have been use to create metal pictures in the readers mind, therefore creating powerful depth. Within the first stanza Hughes has used a metaphor ‘strut like cheap tarts to attract the stroller with the nut’ to identify how animals are being used as entertainment. ‘The boa-constrictor’s coil is a fossil’ is a simile used to tell the reader that animals have given up on their freedom rights. The poet has done this to create sympathy towards the caged animals, especially with the use of caesura, forcing the reader to stop and think. However further down the poem, the reader comes across an animal, the jaguar, that hasn’t given up on his longing for freedom and is enraged. ‘His stride is wildernesses of freedom’ illustrates the jaguar’s natural desire to be in the wild but for our selfish entertainment ‘over the cage floor the horizons come’ therefore the jaguar is hopeless just like the rest of the zoo animals. The depressed and hopeless feelings described in this poem can be related to by the reader because this poem, not only illuminating the public issue of animals rights, explains difficult emotions experienced by its audience.

  4. The poem, ‘The Jaguar’ conveys a message which is heavily accessible to everyone, constituting messages relating to life. This has been expressed in a very thoughtful analogy with the use of images of a jaguar encaged within a zoo, expressing emotions of hopelessness and longing for the wild. The first stanza simply describes the monotonous lethargic nature of the other zoo animals, with the phrase, “the apes yawn and adore their fleas in the sun”. Already the reader has absorbed the lull of the animals, the poet using long vowel sounds, implementing a sense of tiredness and, to a certain extent, the nature of a ‘yawn’. The subject then goes on to describe the hopelessness and depression of the jaguar, trapped within the zoo: “at a jaguar hurrying enraged, Through prison darkness after the drills of his eyes”. This is furthermore evident in the final line of the poem: “Over the cage floor the horizons come”. This suggests that the only horizon the jaguar can posses is the constricted view of the cage and the floor, furthermore proving its melancholy mood and urge to find freedom. This subject, focused on the constrained life of the Jaguar, is an acute comparison of the life messages accessible to everyone: the longing for freedom and hope.

  5. The meanings in the poem, “The Jaguar” are accessible to all readers as messages of life are conveyed through the harsh lives of zoo animals trapped in cages, their freedom taken. In the first and second stanzas, the subject is about a variety of animals in the zoo and how desperate and hungry they are to receive attention and how dull their lives are. The poet uses many techniques in the first stanza including personification in “shriek” and “strut” to build up a strong mental image in the readers mind. The following stanzas’ subject is about the jaguar’s life and how trapped he is in his cage, “over the cage floor the horizons come”. This line in the final stanza describes how little the jaguar can see of the world – only the area of his cage. These subjects’ and meanings in this poem are accessible to everyone as they are messages about life – feeling trapped and depressed.

  6. “Meanings within poems are accessible to everyone because they are messages about life.”

    In the poem ‘The Jaguar’, the author conveys messages about animal cruelty and longing to be free. This is because they can be related to by the reader through experienced emotions. As indicated by the title, the subject of the poem is a jaguar who is first mentioned in the third line of the third stanza. Thereafter, the poem further describes the jaguar in detail. Throughout the poem it becomes apparent that the subject is not solely a jaguar, but also his imprisonment in a cage in a zoo, the pain he goes through and him longing for the wild. His pain is emphasized when the poet illustrates how the jaguar is “hurrying enraged through prison darkness” which “spins from the bars”. The jaguar, whose “stride is wilderness of freedom”, belongs outside of the confines of a cage, into his native habitat. This however, is unlikely to happen as “the world rolls under the long thrust of his heel”, time is passing while he is trapped and confined to his narrow cage. The poets purposeful and deliberate use of caesura forces the reader to think about the subject. In conclusion, the poet conveys the jaguar’s hopeless struggle through experienced emotions the reader can relate to.

  7. The meaning of the second stanza is accessible to everyone as it explores the emotions of monotony and tediousness suffered by encaged animals. The subject and mood of the stanza changes after the first line, from boredom of the animals to the emptiness of the cages. The stanza has a rhyming pattern of A, B, C, D. It shows there is no rhyme, symbolising the dull lives of the animals trapped in the cages. The first line is the end of an enjambment. The use of the enjambment between the first two stanzas creates a fluency between them and attracts attention to the phrase “as still as the sun”. This phrase is also a simile comparing the stillness of the sun to the tiger and lion. The first line also contains a caesura, attracting attention to each of the different animals’ movements, although they are similar. In the second line, there is another caesura, differentiating both phrases as they relate to completely different subjects. The phrase “the boa-constrictors coil is a fossil” is a metaphor explaining that the snake is so still that it resembles a fossil. The poet uses the repetition of “cage” to symbolise the repetitive day to day life of the animals living in the cages. The third line uses sibilance in the words “stinks of sleepers” to create longer sounds to show the sleepiness and laziness of the animals on the straw. The phrase “breathing straw” uses personification to animate the straw with the human motion of breathing. The last line of the stanza creates a mental image of a child’s bedroom where they have painted the scene on a wall. Throughout the second stanza the meaning is accessible to everyone as it is a message about the life of animals trapped in cages.

  8. The meaning within the poem of the ”The Jaguar” is accessible to everyone because they are messages about the life of a enraged and frustrated jaguar. Some readers may be able relate to through past experiences but all readers could feel emotional for this wild animal. The subject only becomes obvious in the third stanza as it begins to describe the animal and later describes its horrible living conditions.in a zoo. By the last stanza you realize that the jaguar is imprisoned and desires freedom, this is emphasized when the author writes ”the jaguar, whose stride is wilderness of freedom”. The poetic devices like assonance, end rhyme, metaphors and sibilance make the meaning within the poem accessible to everyone. .

  9. The poem ‘The Jaguar’ send a message out to the audience about a jaguar wanting to be free and feeling enraged about being trapped in a cage and longing to be out in the wilderness and of course other elements of the animals in the zoo. In the first two stanzas, the author describes the animals as being inattentive and lifeless, there is an example of this when the author describes the boa constrictor as being a fossil. The mood is relaxed. In the third stanza the mood changes as you are introduced to the jaguar, who is feeling agitated and definitely fierce. You can gather from the text that he is longing to be free and not locked in a cage. He is different from the other animals as they are bored and have accepted the fact that they are in a cage, but the jaguar prowls around the cage with ‘drills in his eyes’ but a sense of hopelessness sweeps over you as you read the last line on the last stanza. This fills the reader with sympathy for the jaguar as the jaguar knows that he will forever be in a cage.

  10. Meanings within poems are accessible to everyone because they are messages about life.
    “The Jaguar” conveys everyone’s longing for freedom which is mainly shown through the Jaguar. Hughes spans the subject among various zoo animals although focuses on the encaged Jaguar. For each animal there is a different mood displayed to show the repetitive lives that they lead each day like that of a human. The poet emphasises the animals and their longing through the fourth and fifth stanzas. This is shown in the line “His stride is wildernesses of freedom” which entitles that he is meant to be in the wild.

  11. The meaning of this poem is accessible to everyone through messages about life because this poem focuses on an enraged, trapped Jaguar longing to be free. The first stanza has a rhyme scheme of ABBC and the subject of this stanza is about bored, trapped zoo animals, especially parrots screaming for onlookers attention.In the first line the poet uses assonance to create a mood of boredom. The second line features onomatopoeia in shriek to create a mental image of loud, attention grabbing sounds, it also uses enjambment to connect the subject matter of the second line to the third. in the third line, the poet uses a repeated sharp ‘t’ sound as if trying to draw attention to this line in the stanza. The fourth line shows how tired, lazy and motionless the normally active animals such as tigers and lions have become without the stimulation of the wilderness. The meanings of this stanza are accessible through the messages it presents about the un-stimulated and lethargic lives the caged animals live.

  12. The meaning of this poem is accessible to everyone because it gives us a message of longing and despair. The poem compares the bored, lazy moods of the animals to the lively, adventurous mood of the jaguar. The animals are so lazy and bored that they are ‘fatigued with indolence’. It then talks about the parrot, which ‘strut like cheap tarts’ to try and get some food from passers by. The guests are unimpressed with the animals, until they reach the jaguar’s cage, where they watch in amazement as the jaguar behaves as it would in the wild. The enjambment last line of the first stanza and the first line the second stanza draws an attention of the readers into moving to the second stanza as it is going on to a different subject. The poem uses many similes and metaphors to describe the animals. The parrot ‘strut like cheap tarts to attract the stroller with the nut,’ puts an image in our heads of prostitute strutting like the parrots. ‘Tiger and lion lie still as the sun’ compares the animal’s stillness to the sun. The alliteration of ‘B’ in ‘By the bang of blood in the brain deaf the ear’ helps to give power to the jaguar. The mood starts off as being drowsy and depressing, when we hear about the tiredness and boredom of the animals. Then, there is a tone of sympathy felt for the suffering of the animals. In the fourth stanza the energetic mood of the jaguar is uplifted as it is described as ‘hurrying enraged’ through his cage ‘on a short fierce fuse’. As, the poet’s clever use of poetic devices helps create feeling of hopelessness, and longing, the message of the poem is accessible to everyone

  13. The meaning of “The Jaguar” is accessible to everyone because it tells us a story with a depressing and longing emotion. This poem is a story about a jaguar how has an adventurous, exciting side, but is forced to live a slow, boring life in side of a cage. The parrots, what are so intertwined inside of their daily routine try to ‘flirt’ with “the man with the nuts” by “strutting like cheap tarts”. The jaguar cannot accept that he is destined to a life of boredom inside of a cage and he is “enraged” because he cannot have the life he dreams about everyday in the wild, free. Many people can relate to this because some people who can have great potentials in life are held back by other people. All readers also feel some sort of grief for the animal.

  14. The meaning of the poem “The Jaguar” is easily accessible to all because it gives a melancholy feeling of longing and despair. It compares the lazy laid back mood of the parrots and the apes to the raging, depressed mood of the trapped Jaguar. It is obvious in the third stanza that the jaguars longing for freedom and inner wildness are showing. The stanzas have an A B C D rhyming pattern. There is now obvious rhyming pattern indicating the dull lives of the animals at the zoo. The depressing feeling of the poem outlines that the public issues involving animal rights needs to be improved and altered.

  15. The meaning of poems are accessible to everyone, the poem ‘’ The Jaguar’’ is about life messages. The poem is about a Jaguar trapped, inside a zoo, it wishes to be free in the wilderness it’s home. In the first stanza the poem is about how the parrots in the zoo strutting and screeching for the stroller with the nut. This creates an image of flamboyant birds, strutting to catch attention. Using the onomatopoeia shriek creates a Sharpe screeching noise of impatient birds. This poem describes how the zoo animals are entertainment to the visitors. As the poem continues it move to a more melancholy mood, explaining how overtime the jaguar has turned indolent. The poem illustrates an image of how every bar of the cage is the Jaguars horizon. This shows how the Jaguars emotions are hopelessness and sorrow, which the reader can relate to. The poem is filled with bleak and miserable images. To arouse the reader of the pitiful state, of the zoo animals.

  16. The meaning of the poem ‘The Jaguar” is easily accessible to everyone because because it is about something most people has seen. Most people have been to a zoo and seen trapped animals in a zoo so they can relate. The jaguar has a longing to be free and do whatever it pleases but it’s forced to be in captivity which is described throughout the poem. When you go to the zoo you may see an animal like the parrot who ‘struts like cheap tarts’ around quite happily as described in the first stanza. Or you may see a raging Jaguar who’s personality is like that of fire. Which is when the guests at the zoo get really involved with the jaguars anger and it stomping around its cage. Described in the fourth stanza the jaguar sprinting around trying to break his cage. Then by the fifth stanza you feel sorry for the Jaguar because ‘his horizon is the cage’ and ‘his stride is for wilderness and freedom. The cat doesn’t want to be kept in the cage any longer. This poem arouses readers interest by changing the mood in every stanza. The first is jolly/happy, second raises tension saying the ‘boa constrictor’s coil is a fossil’ because it’s been in one place so long, fourth stanza is rage from the jaguar and the fifth stanza is the feeling sorry for the jaguar being trapped in the cage. Also, by talking about something that is familiar to the reader catches their interest because most people have been to a zoo and seen animals act rage.

  17. The poem “the Jaguar” conveys a message which is accessible to the audience, through aspects of life. The author conveys the meaning or hopelessness of the jaguars because their freedom has been taken from them. It is contrasting the lazy laid back mood of the parrots and the apes to the raging despair of the jaguar that is trapped and is eager to escape. In the third stanza it is obvious that the jaguar is willing to be free “hurrying enraged through prison darkness” the Jaguar wants to escape the prison of the zoo. The rhyming scheme of A B C D conveys the meaning of the dull lives the animals live when they are in the zoo. Through the mechanical routine of the animals’ life, the poet seems to make a statement on the current mechanized human condition where people relegate the true meaning of life to basic biological functions. The poetic techniques that were used to make the mood hopeless made this poem a comparison to life aspects making it accessible to the audience.

  18. The Jaguar

    The meaning within the poem, ‘The Jaguar’ has been made been made accessible to the audience because of its deep message about life and freedom. The poem is a free verse, ABCD structure. The reason the poet has chosen the free verse structure is to create irony, although the poem is free, the animals it refers to are not. Animal freedom is a recurring subject in the poem. The poem uses complex metaphors to describe how an animal in captivity loses his pride and dignity, ‘Like cheap tarts’. Parrots in this phrase are being compared to ‘ cheap tarts’, this creates a frustration in the reader that the parrot, a majestic creature is being called cheap. The poem also focuses on the way the crowd behaves when they see a new arrival; they are completely oblivious to the fact that their entertainment is at the expense of an animal’s freedom, which will eventually forgotten and left to fossilize. Like the phrase ‘The boa-constrictor’s coil is a fossil.”. In the last stanza, the subject shifts slightly, ‘His stride is wildernesses of freedom: the world rolls under the long thrust of his heal.’ Allows insight into the jaguar’s mind, how he believes that he will return to freedom. The poem ends on the line, ‘Over the cage floor the horizons come.’, this is where the Jaguar realizes his freedom has been stripped from him forever. The last line is vague to allow the audience to realize by his or her self the fate of the animal. The poem reflects a deep message of life and freedom, making it accessible to the audience.

  19. There isn’t a subject to put our better versions of the poem under, so I’m putting mine here..
    ‘Lockers” compares the mess of a student’s locker with the troubles of social interactions at school to arouse readers’ interest in personal experience, in this case, school life and all it entails. The two stanzas of the poem explain how the lockers look: “lollies melt on scurf-clogged haircombes” which creates foul and skin crawling images that evoke disgust. However, the third and fourth stanzas describe the desire to hide angry and hateful thoughts and feelings towards bullying: “Savagely shove both in a prison cell” creates a dark mod which is further supported the by last stanza that specifically identifies the “gossiping gangs” and “hostile glares”. “Lockers” has no structure in order to create ‘mess’ which supports the comparison of the mess in lockers and life. To arouse readers’ interest, the poet has written about the public issue of schoolyard bullying which has been experienced by most people, arousing horror at the “bitter ostracism” and “spiteful rumors”.

  20. I am doing the same as charlotte :


    The free verse structure of the poem, builds on the subject of the emotions of a frustrated and depressed school child, this arouses the readers’ interest in the public issue of the pressure and exclusion felt by the child. The free verse structure of the poem is ironic because the first stanza describes chaos. The four stanzas of the poem all have repetition in some variation of ‘shut the door and turn the key’ in the last line. The first stanza ends on ‘shut the door and turn the key’ and the second stanza ends on ‘close the door and turn they key’. The words that describe the act of closing the door become increasingly more violent and intense, such as in the third stanza, ‘slam the door…’. The subject and mood of the poem becomes more dark and depressing as the poem progresses, to reflect the feelings of mounting anger, frustration and depression of the person in the poem. At the end of the poem, in the fourth stanza, when the dark emotions of being ostracised are too much of burden for the character, the poem finishes on ‘lock the door and turn the key’. This phrase reflects the overwhelming feeling of anger felt by the girl, it shows how she wants to shut out the ugliness in her school and personal life. The repetition of the closing and locking the door thought arouses the readers’ interest in the growing anger and hatred.

  21. I printed it out seeing there is no where specific to post it nd here it is:
    Shut the Door and Turn the Key
    Body Paragraph 1
    In the first stanza, the poet arouses the readers’ interest in her personal experience of school using poetic devices such as alliteration and sibilance. In the first line, the poet uses alliteration in the words “crumpled cardboard” and “crusts, crumbs” to describe the grotesque contents of the locker that are ‘crushing’ as more items are placed in the locker. Sibilance is then used in the second line to create a smooth sound as you say it, just as the “soggy chips” and “spilt coke trails” would be. In the third and fourth line, an enjambment is used to create a form of fluency, encouraging the reader to continue onto the next line without pausing. It shows a connection between to different items, the “scurf-clogged hair-combs” and the “cockroach feelers”. Harsh sounding words such as “dump” and “shut” are used to end the stanza with an abrupt finish. The poet is successful in arousing the readers’ interest by describing her painful school experience, using poetic devices such as sibilance and alliteration.

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