The title seems irrelevant, if judged on the surface. It is because the owl is neither a character in the poem nor related to the basic theme of the poem, which is the necessity of ‘food, fire and rest’. However, the title is symbolically significant. In the poem, the owl stands for the poet’s conscience and the owl’s cry symbolizes the poet’s inner voice. The owl’s cry brings a dramatic twist in the poem. It throws focus on the heart-rending suffering of soldiers and the poor through the poet’s feelings for them. The owl’s cry reveals the humanitarian trait of the poet’s character. It also helps establish the fact that the human conscience is a great teacher. So undeniably the title of the poem ‘The Owl’ is apt and relevant to the core.
Click here for more English literature study notes