The Heaven of Animals

In: English and Literature

Submitted By paulinaviolet
Words 917
Pages 4
The Heaven of Animals
By: James Dickey

The poem “The Heaven of Animals”, by James Dickey, explores the relationships between predator and prey as well as the controversial topic of whether or not animals have souls. The end of the poem also touches on the idea of a circle of life; death being the centre. The structure of the poem as well as Dickey’s use of poetic devices reflects these themes whilst also painting a vivid mental imagine of “the heaven of animals” for the reader. In the first stanza, Dickey introduces the animals with the simple phrase “The soft eyes open.” (Line 1) Throughout the poem, there is no mention of any specific animal, but in the opening line of the poem, Dickey chose to represent animals as a whole rather than individual species. This hints at the idea of everyone being created equally and everyone deserving the chance of a perfect afterlife. The reader is also expected to draw the parallel between the title and the setting of the poem, because within the poem, it is never said that they are in “heaven”. The vivid imagery allows the reader to fully understand the beauty of animal heaven. Dickey is describing this place as a more perfect version of the animal’s habitat on earth. This creates a sense of fulfilment which is carried throughout the entire poem. The next stanza is the one that raises the controversial topic of animals not having souls. Dickey presents the reader with a very clear paradox: if animals do not have souls, then which part of them went to heaven after their death on earth? The rest of the poem does not support the idea of animals lacking souls, but rather elaborates on the inner kindness of animals. Dickey described their eyes as “soft” which is often associated with a gentleness while the act of opening one’s eyes is an act that represents a certain awareness of one’s surroundings. This phrase “The soft eyes…...

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