Poem Analysis: Hedgehog & Night of the Armadillo

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A Tale of Two Mammals: The Analysis of How to Make it in Society

Connected by the delicate branches of the tree that sprouted from the constantly expanding lineage of the Mammalian family, the hedgehog and the armadillo are also separated by millions of years of evolution. The choice in animals for the poems did not fall under the laws of natural selection, they were hand selected to represent the separate, yet connected underlying messages. Paul Muldoon, author of “Hedgehog”, and Yusef Komunyakaa, author of “Night of the Armadillo”, both declare society as a negative parasitic being. Both mammalian protagonists bear suits of armor that barely suppress the impending offensive physical/social forces, all the meanwhile representing the
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The author realizes that society wants a hero, a savior to improve the world. The reason there is not one is that we forget the good people in the world, because the independent ones who make their own choices take the “road less traveled” and society looks down on this. In the next stanza, the tone shifts as the author directly connects the conflict between the hedgehog vs. the voices to man vs. society when he clarifies, “We forget the god…” (17). Muldoon covertly exposes the real identity of the hedgehog when substituting the animal as the deity that, in the Judea-Christian belief, is whom “created man in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). While the hedgehog is God, the voice is society as the author connects the dots between the narrator and “We”. When Muldoon states “We”, he in-avertedly ties together the voice, “We”, and he reaches out of the paper to also include the audience, and society all into this one same being. In this poem our god-like hedgehog is adorned “under this crown of thorns” (18), to represent the spikes that shield him from the outer world, to represent the pain and agony the hedgehog bears from the rejection of the voice, and to connect the event to yet another religious tie, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. As society condemned the Savior, a good man who went against common beliefs, to execution with the symbolism of the crown of thorns. If there are good people in the world, then

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