Bat By David H. Lawrence Summary & Analysis [Non-African Poetry]
Non-African Poetry: Bat By David H. Lawrence Summary, Setting, Author's Background, Themes, Structure and Literary Device for JAMB, WAEC and NECO Literature Students 2021 - 2025 Syllabus.

It is no longer news that the above selected poetry is among the selected texts for literature students in the WAEC, NECO and JAMB Syllabus for 2021 - 2025.

Well we have decided to help students by providing some insights such as summary and poetic devices and analysis of the poem to aid them understand and prepare ahead of their examination.


The poem "Bat" was written when English poetry was transiting from the romantic poetry of the nineteenth century to the modernist period which was the twentieth century.

By then, the numerous effects of industrialization manifesting in a very subtle manner in the poetry of GM Hopkins had become an intrinsic part of the poetry of DH Lawrence.

DH Lawrence "Bat" was published alongside his other poem "Man" as a part of his collection of poems called "Birds, Beasts and Flowers" which were published in 1923.

Lawrence creatively focused his attention on the animal to examine human consciousness and sensibility.


DH. Lawrence "Bat," focuses on his disaffection towards the Mammal; Bat, He tells how he was sitting on a terrace somewhere in Florence, Italy, "beyond Pisa, beyond the mountains of Carrara," watching as the sun sets and suddenly sees something flying through the arches of the Ponte Vecchio.

At first, he thinks they are swallows with "spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together." However, it is too late for swallows, and, confused, he starts to wonder what these flying objects-" like a glove, a black glove was thrown up at the light"-could be.

They are bats and they give the poet a sense of dread. According to Lawrence, Bats are "wildly vindictive."

They don't just swoop, but fly "madly," causing "an uneasy creeping in one's scalp." He even seems to consider whether they are creatures at all, describing them as "little lumps that fly in the air" and their wings as "bits of the umbrella."

As the poem continues, Lawrence becomes increasingly disparaging of the animal. He hates how they hang upside down and grin in their sleep.

He says when they are to sleep, they look like "rows of disgusting old rags." He finalizes by saying that while bats are a symbol of happiness in China, they are a symbol of misery to him.


Irrational Prejudice:

One of the major themes in OH. Lawrence's "Bat" is irrational prejudice, it states irrational dislikes the poet persona exhibit towards the mammal. Lawrence is best known for his various types of prejudice he shares in his animal poems, for instance, his notably or perhaps his best-known poem, "Snake," when he throws a log at a snake, not because he particularly wants to, but because people generally dislike snakes, and he feels a gesture of hostility is required.

In this poem, the poet persona seems to loathe bats. He describes their physical appearance in words filled with repulsionz" Creatures that hang themselves up like an old rag, to sleep; And disgustingly upside down. Hanging upside down like rows of disgusting old rags And grinning in their sleep. Bats!" The quick procession of the adverb "disgustingly" and the adjective "disgusting" emphasizes the strength of the speaker's feelings. The bats have spoiled his quiet evening amidst the beauties of Florence

The Beauty in Nature:

The beauty in nature is one idea that permeates DH Lawrence '5 "Bat", and this shows the Romantic influence on his poetry. In his poem," Bat' the opening lines were creatively crafted to describe the environment around the poem persona: "At evening, sitting on this terrace, When the sun from the west, beyond Pisa, beyond the mountains of Carrara/Departs, and the world is taken by surprise When the tired flower of Florence is in the gloom beneath the glowing Brown hills surrounding".

In these lines, the use of words in describing the setting of the sun and emerging moon in the evening was vivid. The detailed description of the landscape and the lights cast by the setting sun enable the reader to see through the persona's eyes and appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature.

“The Right to Individual Preference:

The theme of the right to individual preference is prevalent in Lawrence's "Bat". Under this theme, we learned that every individual has equal rights to choices and decisions about matters of life. From the beginning of the poem, the poet persona's uniqueness and convictions of what he wants and detest are obvious and loud clearly and compellingly.

The poet persona in the last stanza contrasts the affection the Chinese have for bats with his dislike for the bird. The poet's creativity to pitch a society against the individual and let the individual win to convey the importance of individual preference over the decision making of life matters.


Lawrence's 'Bat' is a 45- line poem with no exact stanzaic structure. The poem is written in free verse to abhor the poet's repugnance for bats.

Each stanza is not made of the same number of lines, some are one word or line that makes up a stanza.

In all, the poem is written in 18 stanzas with each stanza contains a variety of numbers of lines.

For instance, the First stanza is made up of three lines, the second stanza contains just two lines while the third stanza has three lines, etc. Line 34 is a one-line stanza and is also known as monostich. in poetry, a single line of poetry can be called a stitch, therefore a monostich means one-line.

The use of enjambment also forms the structure of the poem. the thought in one-line flows into the next line and the use of this device makes the poem sound conversational.

Devices used in the poem "Bat" by D. H. Lawrence include imagery symbolism, simile, personification, Repetition, Alliteration, metonymy, and metaphor.


Devices used in the poem "Bat" by D. H. Lawrence include: imagery symbolism, simile, personification, repetition, alliteration, metonymy, and metaphor.


The persona of this poem uses several literary devices to convey his shifting perceptions of the natural world as day turns into night, and he focuses his reaction particularly on bats. Unlike some people, the persona finds the creatures "vindictive" and loathsome.

In the opening stanza, the speaker employs metonymy by writing that "the world is taken by surprise." While his focus is on the natural world in this poem, the "world" here comes to represent the reaction of all of the people in the world as they collectively shift their emotions at the end of the day.

Metaphor and Alliteration:

The poet deploys the use of both alliteration and metaphor in the following line 4: "When the tired flower of Florence is in the gloom beneath the glowing." Here, the repetition of the "f" sound here provides a stuttering hesitation as if the world is pushing back against the evolution into darkness. He also compares Florence to a "tired flower," illustrating both the beauty of the city and the weariness inherent in the close of day.


The poet delays many symbols in the poem "Bat" Lawrence makes use of nature and creatures from nature as a symbol. The bat is a significant symbol by the poet to indirectly create his pessimistic view of Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century. Also, the reference to Chinese culture and what bat symbolizes to the Chinese. in china, the bat symbolizes happiness while the poet persona reiterated that the bat doesn't symbolize such to him, rather he detests it.


The poet's use of language is very simple and he adopts the use of conversational tone which allows the readers to have a good understanding of the message conveyed in the poem. The poet also put to use several Italian words and this fact established the physical setting of the poem as Italy. Examples are in lines 34, line 2, lines 4,6, and 8.


David Herbert Lawrence (11 September 1885 — 2 March 1930) was an English writer and poet.

His collected works represent, among other things, an extended reflection upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialization. Lawrence's writing explores issues such as sexuality, emotional health, vitality, spontaneity, and instinct.

His works include Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, Women in Love and Lady Chatterley's Lover.

Lawrence's opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile he called his "savage pilgrimage".

At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents.

E. M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as "the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation."[2] Later, the literary critic F. R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness.