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Discuss the effect of metaphor in Tiger In the Menagerie

The poem Tiger in the Menagerie by Emma Jones is a metaphor in its entirety
and it literally describes, the tigers voluntary arrival and exit from the
menagerie. The animal is established as a wild creature, which cannot be tamed
and one that is fierce, hence, feared by everyone. On the other hand, the poet
juxtaposes this image with the image of a menagerie that is a domesticated
environment where animals are kept as representations of wealth.

The contrast between the tiger and the menagerie symbolizes the conflict
between human desires along with impulsiveness and the expectations placed by
the society and one self. In this case, the tiger is a representation of the desires
while the menagerie is of the expectations.

The wild cats arrival into this cultivated surrounding is described as too flash,
too blue, too much like the painting of a tiger, implying that it did not belong and
was too unrealistic and vulgar even. Similarly, in society the raw desires of man
are deemed unacceptable and are often suppressed however it is overlooked
that the desires emerge stealthily but instantaneously just like the tiger.
Furthermore, the bars of the cage and the stripes of the tiger are portrayed to
integrate to an extent where the bars are the lashes of the stripes and the
stripes are the lashes of the bar. This suggests that the tiger blends and
camouflages with the bars of the cage and seems to be playing a trick on the eyes
that sends one into a trance like state. It can be associated with the behaviour of
our hidden yearnings that blend in without us realizing and at some point begin
to govern our actions and decisions. There is also the employment of irony and
juxtaposition in these phrases for although the tiger is out of place, it seems to be
able to perfectly merge and the bars are a symbol of captivity in relation to the
tiger that is free and independent.

The poet continues to extrapolate on this metaphor, when she highlights that
over a certain time period, the tiger becomes one clear orange eye that no
longer remains hidden and can be clearly seen. Moreover, it gives a sense that
the animals majesty and royalty emerge at the top while it dominates and takes
over. This image closely resembles the gradual upheaval that desires can cause
and how they eventually, become predominant with an overwhelming presence
that cannot be ignored or suppressed further. The entire idea is very
intimidating and fierce, both literally and metaphorically.

The last stanza is key in the entire poem for it plays a crucial role in emphasizing
upon the impact that the tiger and in life, desires have on the society. It says, if
the aviary could, it would lock its doors, suggesting the fear of the unknown that
resides within and here the aviary symbolizes the rest of the society. This idea if
further developed with the phrase the rows of the rising birds that describes
the flapping of wing and the intense terror that is brewing in their hearts due to
the arrival of the tiger.
The triumph of desires and impulses also has a similar effect on the minds of the
civilization due to the fear of the unknown that resides and the fear of losing
control over one self that could wreak havoc.
The image of the tiger and its movements as stealthy, fluid and quick paced
builds the metaphor further and is itself constructed with the use of the
conjunctions at the beginning of the sentences and the short phrases that give a
sense of acceleration and fluidity.

More importantly, the metaphor refers to the animalistic behavior and instinct
that thrives in mankind and is one of the key themes in this poem.

To conclude with, the metaphor employed by Jones accentuates the themes of


the poem and illuminates on the perennial war between desires and
expectations along with commenting on the nature of the desires and the
manner in which, they will always emerge stronger and cannot be pacified
despite the efforts put in to do so.

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