The Pricking of Perception in Linda Hogans Essay Porcupine

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How often do people notice the small creatures living all around them in our busy modern lives The narrator of Linda Hogan's essay "Porcupine" focuses her attention on a particular porcupine that has been living close to the houses in which she lives. The human neighbor reminisces about the various times she has seen the porcupine and seems to feel genuine regret upon finding the animal dead.


It is ironic that the narrator states that "This is not the porcupine of poems", for it is instead the porcupine of a contemplative essay. But observations always begin with the external, just as the narrator notes, "It is not the sleek young porcupine (nor) one of the fast ones this one is torn and lame She wears her history" This animal, while not necessarily ancient, has had many years of experience with life and has been somewhat battered by it. While these are fairly obvious details about the porcupine, this strong focus of attention on them implies a much deeper level of identification by the narrator. The narrator, too, has had enough experiences of life to recognize the signs of it in another; she too is not the youth she was, yet still has a "light in her."
While the narrator has largely adhered to observable data, the empathy now established allows her to take more poetic license in her imagination as she looks to the inner life of this animal. ...
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