Commentary on the Bat by Roethke

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Aliona Fezoua My Expert Commentary ‘The Bat’ – Theodore Roethke: By day the bat is cousin to the mouse. He likes the attic of an aging house. His fingers make a hat about his head. His pulse beat is so slow we think him dead. He loops in crazy figures half the night Among the trees that face the corner light. But when he brushes up against a screen, We are afraid of what our eyes have seen: For something is amiss or out of place When mice with wings can wear a human face. Theodore Roethke’s poem ‘The Bat’ clearly focuses on the animal the bat and effectively conveys through the latter an important message to the reader. One could interpret this poem in various ways; however a prominent theme would be that every…show more content…
By comparing the bat’s depiction during both day and night, Roethke may be trying to convey that the bat is actually no more than a simple and peaceful being, which has been wrongly portrayed for years. From another point of view, the author could be wanting to convey, through the image of a bat, that everyone has a ‘dark side’. Roethke ingeniously does so in the final line of the poem with the latter’s twist metaphorical ending; “when mice with wings can wear a human face” (Roethke, 10). As previously discussed, bats are usually associated with slyness and darkness, by making the bat “wear a human face”, Roethke is trying to express that bats can sometimes resemble humans and vice versa. Ultimately, humans can also sometimes ‘wear a bat face’ and have a darker side. The author also gives the poem a very descriptive tone through a significant amount of imagery. For example, the metaphor; “his fingers make a hat about his head” (Roethke, 3), provides a detailed description of the bat’s upper body in such a way that the reader is able to picture the bat as what Roethke wants him/her to picture it as. One could also infer that the author may again be trying to make the connection between bat and man; since men wear hats and not bats. Another metaphor would be; “by day the bat is cousin to the mouse” (Roethke, 1). Of course, mouse

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