What Does 'Engine' Refer To In The Poem "THE LABURNUM TOP" By TED HUGHES ?

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Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
The poem talks about "machine" and "engine". We all know that engine is inside a machine and it is the driving force of a machine. The engine also needs fuel to work. When the poet looks at the tree in the beginning , it is silent and still. When the goldfinch enters its thickness, a machine starts up. The tree is compared to a machine which starts working when the engine is filled with fuel. The following lines makes this clear. "It is the engine of her family. She stokes it full". Engine refers to the chicks int nest. When goldfinch feeds them(fuel), the engine starts working and naturally the machine too. So, tree is the machine. Inside it the baby chicks in the nest, the engine and the food for them is the fuel.

SANTHOSH KUMAR KANA
Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
It looks like you're both right. 'It' must refer to the tree, but in fact the tree only trembles because it is full of baby birds. So to be exact, the tree is the engine, but only because it contains the nest (family.)
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
No , the tree is only reffered to as the engine...
Coz the sentence reads, "It is the engine of her family".
If it would have written for the bird then there would have been 'she' used in place of 'it'.....!!!!
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I think the machine referred to is the goldfinch's family and the engine is the tree because, tree is the place where the goldfinch meets her young ones and even feeds them. Tree is the engine of goldfinch's family since it gives shelter and it is a place where the bird meets her young ones. She (goldfinch) stokes it(the laburnum) with her chitterings.
thanked the writer.
Anonymous
Anonymous commented
How can tree be a machine ???.....infact machine is supposed to be the main part ..so bird is the main object which provides life to the tree......here bird should be the machine .......

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