This is a good full summary and analysis of D. H. Lawrence’s “Bat.” It follows an exposition of the life of D. H. Lawrence. The background of the poem, and the content of the poem. There would be a thorough analysis and summary of the poem.
Biography of the Poet. Who is D. H. Lawrence?
D. H. Lawrence is a popular English writer whose works are widely known especially his novels. He was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. His father was a coal miner. He was closer to his mother as well as his siblings, and this made his mother be able to guide him on securing a scholarship to University College at Nothingham. After graduation, he became a teacher and wrote extensively. His works gained prominence during his lifetime and even after his death.
Summary and Analysis of D. H. Lawrence’s “Bat”
This poem is simply concerned about the perception of things, values or concepts according to the differences in cultures. The poem on the surface looks as if it’s entirely a romantic poem (a poem about nature) but it is not. It is a poem about objects of nature like swallow and bats really but it is not only about nature as the different understanding of culture and perception of values and items are also examined.
The poem is narrative in nature. The persona opens up the poem as he writes that it’s evening and he is sitting out watching the nature when he suddenly notices swallows flying. He complains that the swallows seem to be flying so late. He admires them as they fly with other objects of nature. However, the tone and mood of the poem changes when he comes to notice the swallows have disappeared.
The swallows disappeared and were replaced by bats!
The persona gives a negative or bad description of bats unlike the good one he gives to swallow. He writes that bats hang upside down, ugly and he calls them “disgusting old rags.” Towards the end and at the end of the poem, he states that even though in China, bats are considered symbols of happiness, it is not like that for him. The last lines are apt for representing different perception of items, values, and that’s differences in cultures.
The poem contains 48 lines and five stanzas.
Themes in the Poem
- Culture/Diversity of Culture: This is noticed in the aspect where the culture of the persona and his perception of bats is different from that of the loving perception people have about bats in China. His disgust for bats is as opposed as that of the love of bats by the Chinese. In his culture, swallows are appreciated and bats demonized.
- Nature: This is the second most predominant theme in the poem. The poem writes about objects of nature from the beginning to the end. First of all, there is an appreciation of the time of the day, the weather and the sun before it moves on to write about flying swallows and bats.
- Diversity of Nature/Animals: The persona explores this poem by presenting in details his perception of swallows and bats. Even though they are presented differently, these animals and birds have their different and unique features beneficial to the world. No animal, tree or bird should be discarded as they add to life no matter our perception of such object of nature.
Poetic Devices/ Figures of Speech and Sound in the Poem
- Simile: There are some words that can be connected to simile used in the poem. Examples are “… wings like bits of umbrella” – (line 25) and “… hanging upside down like rows of disgusting old rags” – (line 44).
- Metaphor: “… serrated wings against the sky”; “… little lumps that fly in the air” and “black piper.”
- Personification: “When the tired flower of Florence” and “When the sun from the west … beyond the mount of Camara/Departs …”
- Symbolism: The persona writes that bats are symbols of happiness in China.
- Allusion: The persona alludes to the culture of China and their perception of bat.
- Repetition: For emphasis, the persona repeats “bats” and “swallows.”
- Onomatopoeia: There are some onomatopoeic words in the poem like “scoops” and “serrated.”
- Alliteration: “… flowers of Florence” – (line 5); “… a twitch, a twitter” – (line 23) and “Piper on a … piper” – (line 37)
Diction and Language use in Full Summary and Analysis of D. H. Lawrence’s “Bat”
The poem is narrative in nature and written in simple English. Reading the poem, anyone can simply understand the meaning of the lines of the poem. Most of the words are easy to comprehend.
The persona is glad and happy to be with nature and appreciate the swallows in the beginning part of the poem but all these changed at the ending where he became antagonistic and sad about the bats.