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A Kite Is A Victim

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Autor:   •  March 16, 2011  •  958 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,111 Views

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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.


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