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An Analysis of Robert Francis’ Poem The Hound Essay

In Robert Francis’ poem “The Hound,” the writer creates a sense of fear by comparing how mysterious and unpredictable dogs are to life using an extended metaphor to show life as uncertain and one has to wait to see what it brings at them. In lines 1-5, the writer states: “Life the hound/Equivocal/Comes at a bound/Either to rend me/Or to befriend me.” The speaker compares the habits of a hound to life to show even though they are not alike, they are similar in the way of not knowing the next thing that can happen. They are both questionable and suspicious because no one knows what will happen next and there is a possibility of it tearing one apart.

Additionally, it can be a friend to one and everything will go well. This enforces how uncertain life is towards human beings. Meanwhile, the speaker continues in lines 6-11 by saying: “I cannot tell/ The hound’s intent/ Till he has sprung/ At my bare hand/ With teeth or tongue.” There is a sense of tension that is created in these lines by the use of imagery in order to show how no one is sure of what will follow. There is a possibility that life won’t be very friendly and will come at one “with teeth or tongue.”

This can seem like a negative thing because it could come and bite you or that phrase could mean it is coming with happiness and joy thus promising good things to come. Finally, the speaker says in the last two lines “Meanwhile I stand/And wait the event.” This suggests the speaker is passive and waiting for something to happen. This is because one doesn’t know what will happen thus will not actively participate. In life, one might not always participate because life is uncertain and it can either be a friend or destroy the person.


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