The Duck and the Kangaroo Summary

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About the Author

"The Duck and the Kangaroo" is a poem written by Edward Lear. Edward Lear was an author, artist, musician, illustrator, and poet. He was famously known mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry. Stories, songs, etc. Apart from The Duck and the Kangaroo, his other poems include The Owl and the Pussy-cat, incidents in the Life of My Uncle Arly. 


Edward Lear was the 20th of 21 children (and youngest to survive). His parents were stockbrokers. His other sibling didn't make it past infancy. Lear lived for nearly 75 years; however, his health was always delicate and tiring for him. He had health issues like poor eyesight and suffered from chronic respiratory problems. When Lear was merely five, he experienced his first epileptic seizure. That incident scared him so much that he could feel the seizure coming from then onwards and would hide where no one could see him. At the age of 7, he was diagnosed with depression due to his Childhood. When the financial crisis hit the family, his mother left him in the care of his sister Ann who never married and took care of Lear, like a mother. In some of his poems, the resentment for his mother can be seen. 


Edward Lear published many poems, stories, and Books. One of his famous works has been "Book of Nonsense." His whole life was mostly alone and detached from society. He has a cat as a companion. 


Summary of the Poem The Duck and The Kangaroo

Summary of The Duck and the Kangaroo is a conversation between a duck and a Kangaroo. The duck appreciates the qualities and appearance of The Kangaroo as he can hoop anywhere it likes. After hearing his adventure stories, the Duck thinks her life is not better in the pond and talks about leaving to look for adventure.


The Duck tries to convince the Kangaroo to let him ride in his back and take him around the world for adventures just as he has seen.   


At the end of the poem, the Duck is successful in convincing the Kangaroo to let him ride in his back in silence. The Kangaroo and the Duck roam around the world three times. 


The Duck and The Kangaroo Poem Summary

The Duck and The Kangaroo poem starts off with Duck expressing his excitement that the Kangaroo can hop over the water and land. He further describes and compares his own condition with Kangaroo telling him how dull his life is in the pond. If he could Hop like him, the Duck could fulfill all his dreams.


In the second verse, the Duck comes up with the idea that he can still fulfill his dreams if Kangaroo would let him ride on his back. Duck promises to keep still and quiet all day. It proposes to travel to places like Dee and the Jelly Bo Lee. He dreams of crossing the land and the water in that process, just like the Kangaroo. He keeps repeating his request to the Kangaroo for it to accept it.


In the third verse, The Kangaroo explains in detail why he can't let the Duck hop on his back even though it might bring him some good luck. He says that the feet of the Duck are wet and cold, and because of that, the Kangaroo can have rheumatism (joint inflammation) if they are on the Kangaroo's back.


In the fourth verse, the Duck explains to the Kangaroo that he has found the solution for that problem also. He said he will wear warm socks and purchase a blanket and cigar to hop with his best friend Kangaroo.


In the fifth and last verse, the Kangaroo finally agrees to leave that night. The Kangaroo asks the Duck to sit at the end of his tail to have the best balance possible. As they take off the world-hopping, they travel around three times. In the end, there is no one as happy as the Duck and the Kangaroo.


Explanation of the Poem the Duck and the Kangaroo

Even though the story of the Duck and the Kangaroo might seem like a nonsense poem at first, the poet is very cleverly able to deliver the relationship of two friends who are different from each other yet understand each other’s emotions and desires.


The Kangaroo and the Duck are two different creatures, and yet they are good friends. In the whole poem, Duck tries to convince the Kangaroo to let him ride on his back, and in the end, he successfully travels the world three times with his best friend, the Kangaroo.