To Bear or not to Bear Essay

To Bear or not to Bear Essay

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Are you willing to do anything in order for you to survive? Go to the extent of crossing many boundaries? Not everyone is willing to stand till the end. Born on February 1, 1927 Galway Kinnell has always been a fighter. He had served in the United States Navy and completed extensive tours of Europe and the Middle East, primarily in Iran and France. After the wars, he returned home as a field worker and became an activist in the Civil Rights Movement. Kinnell often writes about his struggles as a soldier and his experiences as a reform activist ( In his poem, The Bear, Kinnell writes about a man who, upon discovering a steaming dropping made by a bear in the snow, sets on a hunt for a bear. The hunter faces several obstacles, but manages to overtake his prey. Kinnell uses the poem to show what it means to be a survivor and what it feels like to express yourself.
Kinnell picks a certain style to write his poem. Of all the forms, he chooses to write The Bear with as little words as possible. Through this method, the poet manages to incorporate that like the verses of the poem, life is short. Also, Kinnell makes his poem more realistic by putting us in the driver’s seat. He writes the poem in first person, constantly using the word “I”. First person perspective allows the reader to connect faster than a third person would. We begin to picture our self in the situation and allow our imagination to think like the hunter. By using enjambment, repetition, and short phrases he keeps the poem spontaneous. This allows the reader to quickly visualize events in the poem to help show events that happened within the poem, but not in too much detail that our interest is lost. For example, in the first four lines the poet writes, “In l...

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...iety does things just as unusual as the character in the poem. What may seem strange for some is perfectly normal to others. In many countries in Asia, for example, people eat various insects and rodents that we, on the western hemisphere, find unsettling. Likewise not everyone finds holding dogs and cats as household pets as normal either, some countries even eat man’s best friend (Chang). Everything we do we justify it as our right to survive. Survival drives us to do unexpected things because we are a species that knows that if we don’t take care of ourselves we will suffer or die.

Works Cited

“Galway Kinnell”. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2014.

“The Bear”. WordPress, 11 Dec. 2012. Web. 04 Mar. 2014.
Chang, Emily. "Inside the Cat and Dog Meat Market in China." CNN. Cable News Network, 09 Mar. 2010. Web. 04 Mar. 2014

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