Owls By Mary Oliver The great-horned owl is one of the most mysterious animals of the world.

In an excerpt from Mary Oliver's essay "Owls," she discusses her fear as well as her utmost admiration of this most frightening of creatures. Mary Oliver's use of threatening imagery conveys her deep fear of the power of this frightful creature. By using phrases referring to "it's razor-tipped toes" and discussing the "heavy, crisp, breathy snapping of it's hooked beak," Mary Oliver wants the reader to understand just how dangerous and scary these "pure, wild hunters of our world" are to all other creatures that they view as prey. Throughout this passage the great-horned owl is used as a symbol for danger and any kind of threat upon those deemed ‘innocent'. The "headless bodies of rabbits and blue jays" are used to represent the innocent people killed by someone else's (the great-horned owl) hunger for food, power, greatness, etc. Mary Oliver states that "if it could it would eat the whole world" as would many power-hungry tycoons we see in the business world today. In line 37, Mary Oliver contrasts one short sentence full of meaning with the long drawn out one preceding it. Mary Oliver states that "there is only one world" showing her view that all in life is connected and no one thing can happen without affecting everything around it. The African word "ubuntu" can be applied here, meaning ‘I am because we are' stating the same that one person can not be if it were not for all else around it. For example, the great-horned owl can not eat a rabbits head without affecting Mary Oliver by making her come to terms with her own mortality. Mortality. A common theme throughout much of literature, especially the early horror writings such as those of Poe. Although Mary Oliver never specifically mentions mortality it is a common theme throughout most of this passage. I believe that throughout this entire passage the author is trying to come to terms with the fact that one day it may... ****************************************************************************** Response to passage from "Owls" by Mary Oliver In the passage from "Owls", Mary Oliver uses various rethorical devices to convey the complexity of her response to nature. The use of imagery is prominent throughout the passage. In line 4 she use sound imagery: "...I look up at it and listen to the heavy, crisp, breathy snapping of its hooded beak. In lines 20-21 the visual image is repulsive: "...for the owl has an insatiable craving for the taste of brains." These descriptions makes the writing be so vivid that it made me feel as if the owl could appear any second and use his beak to pick my own brain. Juxtaposition in lines 28-29 is used to emphasize their irony: "...the rolicking glory..." -the owl's contentment and fulfillment- "...death bringer..." For people death by someone elses hand is a murder to an owl it means exhilaration, the essence of its own survival. The settings are also juxtaposed to pinpoint a shift; from the cold winters and nights of the owl to the images of the author's reminiscence of summer fields of flowers. Furthermore, both accounts become parallel as the image of the flowers becomes increasingly eerie. ****************************************************************************** Owls By Mary Oliver ...essay "Owls," she discusses her fear as well as her utmost admiration of this most frightening of creatures. Mary Oliver's use of threatening imagery conveys her deep fear of the power of this frightful creature. By using phrases referring to "it's razor-tipped toes" and discussing the "heavy, crisp, breathy snapping of it's hooked beak," Mary Oliver wants the reader to understand just how dangerous and scary these "pure, wild hunters of our world" are to all other creatures that they view as prey. Throughout this passage the great-horned owl is used as a symbol for danger and any kind of threat upon those deemed ‘innocent'. The "headless bodies of rabbits and blue jays" are used to represent the innocent people killed by someone else's (the great-horned owl) hunger for food, power, greatness, etc. Mary Oliver states that "if it could it would eat the whole world" as would many power-hungry tycoons we see in the business world today. In line 37, Mary Oliver contrasts one short sentence full of meaning with the long drawn out one preceding it. Mary Oliver states that "there is only one world" showing her view that all in life is connected and no one thing can happen without affecting everything around it. The African word "ubuntu" can be applied here, meaning ‘I am because we are' stating the same that one person can not be if it were not for all else around it. For example, the great-horned owl can not eat a rabbits head without affecting Mary Oliver by making her come to terms with her own mortality. Mortality. A common theme throughout much of literature, especially the early horror writings such as those of Poe. Although Mary Oliver never specifically mentions mortality it is a common theme throughout most of this passage. I believe that throughout this entire passage the author is trying to come to terms with the fact that one day it may... ****************************************************************************** What is so great about this poem is the beautiful thought rendered through indelible imagery. The owl descends, “like an angel, or a Buddha with wings” then alights “like a little lighthouse.” But it is this thought of light, consuming light–”scalding, aortal light”–that, paired with the fierceness of the predator, the white-on-white landscape she has painted, haunts us with the notion that in it we are “washed and washed / out of our bones.” The visceral fierceness of the language, and the pairing of the impartial act of predator to the impartial act of death, rendered through such strong–and such cohesive!–imagery leaves a lasting impression in our minds. What is so great about this poet is how her keen observation of nature leads to transcendence. Here, and in so many poems, she seems to get inside the natural act through her deep meditation upon the subject, and from here she is often led to a kind of universal truth. Because it is borne out of such artistic integrity, this is not prosaic, sing-song truth to be printed on a greeting card. It is the visceral, stark, abundant or spare truth of the real natural world which she replants us firmly and gratefully within.