Doyle seems to explain the talents or abilities in the second paragraph. “Each one visits a thousand flowers a day. They can dive at sixty miles an hour. They can fly backwards” (Doyle 147). But, just as quickly as he describes their feats, he points out their flaws. “But when they rest they come close to death” (Doyle 147). With one simple little twist he shows the reader that a life is still a fragile thing. One minute your king of the world, the next, your lying dead in the battlefield. The first instance where I feel Doyle was moving my attention away from the literal content was when he said, “If they are not soon warmed, if they do not soon find that which is sweet, their hearts grow cold, and they cease to be” (Doyle 147). I knew from there that this
Stamper 3 essay wasn’t about humming birds and their hearts but Doyle’s clever use of these objects to give context to human behavior and emotion. “Consider for a moment those hummingbirds who did not open their eyes again today, this very day in the Americas” (Doyle 147). What I feel Doyle is saying here is that hearts are broken and crushed every single day in the hopes of forever love. “Each thunderous wild heart the size of an infant’s fingernail, each mad heart silent, a brilliant music stilled” (Doyle 147). In other words, we all crave and live for the acceptance and love of others and get so discouraged, almost to the point of giving up, when we don’t get what we had hoped to get. Doyle’s third paragraph is where he melds the ideas of the first two paragraphs into one complete idea. He masterfully uses his explanation of the hummingbird’s metabolisms to relay the high cost of living life so close to the edge. “The price of their ambition is a life closer to death” (Doyle 147). He uses this metaphor to tell us that we can live quickly and be all around the world, but we won’t live for very long. Doyle effectively expounds, albeit metaphorically, the lengths we go for love and the pain we’re willing to endure in the hopes of finding it. “Hummingbirds, like all flying birds but more so, have incredible enormous immense ferocious metabolisms” (Doyle 147). This single sentence tells me about how hard we push ourselves to find and feel love. At a young age we begin gathering love, trying to consume and feel as much as possible. We just can’t get enough and start feeling quite horrible when we can’t seem to find it. “It’s expensive to fly. You burn out. You fry the machine. You melt the engine” (Doyle 147). Once the human heart has felt the pain of loss and the fear of loneliness, we become careful and somewhat hardened in a way. “Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime” (Doyle
Stamper 4 148). This is the point where the story begins to turn toward the more careful side of love. We can choose to either live fast and furious or slow and methodical. “You can spend them slowly,
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- Fall '13
- Humpback whale, Brian Doyle, Blue Whale, Hummingbird