English / A Kite Is A Victim

A Kite Is A Victim

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Autor:  anton  16 March 2011
Tags:  Victim
Words: 958   |   Pages: 4
Views: 397

The Poem titled “A Kite is a victim” written by Leonard Cohen contains multiple metaphors. Through my own analysis I feel that the author’s central focus of the poem concerns life. Cohen discusses the relationships and accomplishes that we make throughout our lifetimes.

The kite seems to be the main metaphor of the poem, symbolizing life and living. Each of the four stanzas in the poem begins with a metaphor. In every case the premise is the kite. These metaphors will be analyzed with regard to the central theme of the poem.

The first metaphor that I will discuss can be found in the first line of the first stanza. Cohen writes: “A kite is a victim you are sure of”. The first stanza presents the qualities of life and love. The kite is a victim like life is sacrificial and sometimes painful. As much as we have happiness we must also experience sadness and hurt. You know that you must experience these hard ships in order to move forward. Cohen describes it as being tempting because it pulls. Life is interesting because you cannot control it completely. There are ups and downs just like a kite in the wind.

The next metaphors that I will identify can be found in the first stanza in the third and fourth lines. Both of these lines provide an example of personification, characterizing the kite with human qualities: “Gentle enough to call you master, strong enough to call you fool.” A kite cannot be gentle, strong, or call you anything. These metaphors represent the full spectrum of emotions and strength in life. It is gentle enough that you often feel strong and powerful but also strong enough to humble you.

The sixth line of Cohen’s poem is a simile. Leonard makes a direct comparison between a falcon and the kite: “like a desperate trained falcon.” In this case the metaphor is once again the kite, and the vehicle is the “desperate trained falcon”. “A desperate trained falcon” would be a strong bird whose desperation has altered his freedom. The kite or one’s livelihood is like a desperate trained falcon in that life involves freedom and great strength but each individual must be trained as they conform to society’s expectations. “…In the high sweet air, and you can always haul it down…” It is always yours to control and possess.

The last metaphor in the first stanza is located in the ninth line: “to tame it in your drawer.” In my understanding I believe that the drawer represents the limits of society. You cannot actually tame a falcon in a drawer, but if the author is referring to the falcon as a person’s independence and freedom in life than the drawer represents the natural conformity within society.

“A kite is a fish you have already caught”. Once again he makes an interesting comparison. The kite, being the central subject and the fish already caught is the vehicle. In this case the kite is continuing to represent life. Cohen describes it as being something you already have, something you can never replace. There will never be another one coming along so you must take advantage of the one that you have been given. Cohen continues this stanza with guiding advice: “so you play him carefully and long, and hope he won’t give up or wind die down.”

In other words, live your life to the fullest, do not give up. One must be careful and live as long as possible.

The third stanza contains another metaphor. Like every other stanza, Leonard Cohen begins with a metaphor. The vehicle in this line is “the last poem you’ve written.” Life and accomplishments are like the last poem you have written. Your most recent accomplishment in life is likely your most precious. It is difficult to let go of the past until there is something waiting in front of you. In this stanza life’s accomplishments and the past are described as being very important and sentimental, but everyone must move on towards new things.

The beginning of the fourth stanza is similar to the others. It begins with a distinct metaphor that refers to the kite. At this point in the poem, Cohen refers to the kite as a “contract of glory”. The vehicle is that contract of glory, and he uses a metaphor to describe life. Life is the contract of glory. It is the desire to live and make accomplishments. The second line establishes the holiness of life: “It must be made with the sun”. The agreement must be made with a higher power to live and then to die and to participate in the process of life. But you accept the path of life. People age “you make friends with the field the river and wind”. You find friends and accept your surroundings. You accept what you have been provided with, and prepare for your own time.

The twenty-fourth line refers to the death, cleansing oneself of sins through prayer.

The fourth stanza also contains another example of personification in line 25: “under the traveling cordless moon.” In this case, it is the moon that is described with human qualities instead of the kite. The moon cannot be cordless and cannot technically travel either. It moves forward without any restraints unlike the kite. It is a freeing experience. It is time to let go and move toward death. Death and the acceptance of it provide a person with purity.

Leonard Cohen illustrates some incredibly deep and powerful perspectives on life in this poem. He makes clear connections between his metaphors and the overall theme of the poem.

Cohen provides many effective examples throughout his poem that we are able to interpret into the powerful theme of life and living.



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