ISC Reverie The Dolphins: as a protest against destruction of nature


The Dolphins

Question: State how is the poem, ‘The Dolphins’ a protest against the destruction of nature and natural creature by man.

Answer: ‘ The Dolphins’ by Carol Ann Duffy, by means of Dolphins’ oppression, protests the slow destruction of nature and natural creatures by man.

      Man, for his own needs and greed, destroys the natural habitats of mute animals, entrap them, commercially exploits them and even kills them. This  physical and mental torture of these innocent creatures, disturbs the ecological balance which in turn results in the destruction of nature.

       In ‘The Dolphins’ Duffy only speaks about the oppression of dolphins and their deplorable condition as they are deprived of their natural habitat and confined in an artificial pool with many others of its own kind, but the theme is much more vast than it. Here dolphins are  only representatives of all those creature who are mentally, physically tortured and commercially exploited by man.

      The speaker of Duffy’s poem is a dolphin itself, hence ‘The Dolphins’ is a dramatic monologue written from the perspective of a dolphin about the effects of their imprisonment by humans. The dolphin says that they are in their ‘elements’ means they are still in water where they can breath and survive but they are not free. They are trapped in a pool where they are alive but  not free. Dolphins are very lively creatures having quite developed brain, for them freedom is essential for their happiness and well being. They feel that they are not blessed now as they are not free. Their movements are restricted in a pool and are guided by a man with hoops.

We were blessed and now we are not blessed.”

     They say that they are not blessed now as they can not move on their own wish, they have to perform tricks as jumping through the hoops and balance the coloured ball to entertain humans. So they are now commercially exploited by humans. The  dolphins have a great regret for this .

There is a man and there are hoops”.

      The dolphin is sad to live a monotonous life in a pool. As before they were used to swim freely in vast open ocean but now the space is limited. A man is there constantly above them guiding their movements, and making them feel guilty for their misfortune.

It is the same space always and above it is the man.”

     The moon has disappeared for them , not only literally but also metaphorically. They can no longer see the moon as they are not in the open sea and their cheerfulness turned to be gloomy. All they can do is to circle around the coloured ball on the monotonous sound of  the whistle blown by the man.

“The moon has disappeared. We circle well worn grooves of water on a single note.”

        Dolphins feel compassion for the other dolphins. It says when it hears the mournful  voice of other dolphin caused by lack of freedom and happiness, it’s own heart turns into stone.

Music of loss forever from the other’s heart which turns my own    to stone.”

       Once ‘limitless’ dolphins now has ‘limits’ imposed. There is a man who controls their movements. There is a sense of hopelessness by their condition. They know that there is no escape for them and they would die in the pool. They sarcastically says –

There is a man and our mind knows we will die here.”

      The existence of a man above them has been repeated in every stanza of the poem to highlight the authority of  man not only over the Dolphins but also over other mute creatures. To fulfill his desire and greed and to show his superiority over other creature, man tortured and exploited all these innocent creatures. Hence he has disturbed the ecological cycle and result in the slow destruction of nature.

        The poem has raised voice against the cruelty of human towards animals. The poem indirectly appeals human beings not to destroy natural habitats of animals and  their lives. They too are a part of nature like us and therefore deserve our respect and right to remain in the world, free from harassment and harm.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top