Analysis of Joyas Voladoras by Brian Doyle

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Published: Dec 3, 2020

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Words: 479|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Dec 3, 2020

Analysis Of Joyas Voladoras By Brian Doyle
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The essay analyzes Brian Doyle's essay, "Joyas Voladoras," which skillfully weaves together science, vivid descriptions, and poignant reflections to convey a powerful message about the human heart, both in its literal and metaphorical sense. Doyle explores the hearts of hummingbirds and whales, emphasizing the universality of this vital organ throughout the animal kingdom.

Doyle's choice to compare the hearts of such diverse creatures highlights the paradox of size and significance. He eloquently illustrates the frenetic heartbeat of a hummingbird, symbolizing life's brevity, in contrast to the majestic enormity of a blue whale's heart, emphasizing the importance of connection and community.

Throughout the essay, Doyle delves into the human condition, revealing our emotional complexities and vulnerabilities. He underscores the idea that, like the creatures he describes, humans often conceal their true selves and suppress their emotions, alluding to the fleeting nature of life.

Doyle’s essay uses science and vivid descriptions to depict how powerful yet fragile the organ is. The author’s purpose was to show that amongst all animals, they have a common feature; the heart. To convey this message, he compares the heart of the hummingbird to the heart of a whale, which no matter the size, still very powerful. “Joyas Voladoras” is the name given to the hummingbird by the first explorers in the Americas, meaning, “flying jewels. He continues on by explaining that a hummingbird’s heart races remarkably fast that they encounter aneurysms or heart-failure more than any other creature. The racing of their hearts symbolizes that they live very short lives.

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“So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment.” Everybody has things they hold in whether it be emotions, secrets, or information and knowledge. Following this quote, Brian mentions how people are “utterly open with no one” meaning that we don’t truly share things with other people, we hold it in. The style of his essay is determined by what his is discussing at that moment. In the beginning there are hummingbirds so the writing and short and choppy. Later Doyle mentions whales which are large so Doyle writes this portion of the essay to be long and slow compared to the beginning. Doyle’s discussion about the heart was showing that each animal has a heart but so much can be held within in no matter the size.

In his essay, he writes, “Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime. You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise, and live to be two hundred years old, or you can spend them fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old” To contradict, Doyle, explains that a blue whale has the biggest heart in the world. Their hearts weighing seven tons and are known to be the largest mammal who ever lived though as a society, not knowing nearly anything about them. Doyle has many tones at the beginning. He starts off with a scientific tone almost as if he was writing a report on hummingbirds and whales. However, his tone changes when he ties in why he talks about the different hearts. When looking at the different textual tones, there were a lot of negative connotations in this text because the author was feeling disappointed with how lightly people were taking their lives. Doyle was passionate about wanting to let everyone see that there is more to life and people should live it. Regardless there were some positive connotations in this text, the part about the blue whales and how they had the biggest heart because they stayed together and helped one another.

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The author has a thoughtful tone where he tries to tell us to live life and feel your emotions. Continuing on, in Doyle’s article on “Joyas Voladoras”, he wanted society to know that people are all life hummingbirds. Either choosing to live life fast and enjoy it, or live like a tortoise and miss out on all the good things life has to offer, not that, but to enjoy every single one of those two billion heartbeats. In conclusion, Brian Doyle’s “Joyas Voladoras” is to encourage people to treasure every moment in life; from the sad ones to happy moments. Doyle talks about every moment in life as “so much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment,” and as said before Doyle’s views of life and love is demonstrated by the use of the heart of animals as a metaphor.

Works Cited

  1. Doyle, B. (2004). Joyas Voladoras. The American Scholar, 73(2), 18-27.
  2. Ekman, P. (1992). An argument for basic emotions. Cognition & Emotion, 6(3-4), 169-200.
  3. Fredrickson, B. L., & Losada, M. F. (2005). Positive affect and the complex dynamics of human flourishing. American Psychologist, 60(7), 678-686.
  4. Gardner, H. (2011). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. Basic books.
  5. Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. Oxford University Press.
  6. LeDoux, J. E. (1996). The emotional brain: The mysterious underpinnings of emotional life. Simon and Schuster.
  7. Panksepp, J. (2005). Affective consciousness: Core emotional feelings in animals and humans. Consciousness and Cognition, 14(1), 30-80.
  8. Plutchik, R. (2001). The nature of emotions: Human emotions have deep evolutionary roots, a fact that may explain their complexity and provide tools for clinical practice. American Scientist, 89(4), 344-350.
  9. Sander, D., Grandjean, D., & Scherer, K. R. (2005). A systems approach to appraisal mechanisms in emotion. Neural networks, 18(4), 317-352.
  10. Zajonc, R. B. (1984). On the primacy of affect. American Psychologist, 39(2), 117-123.
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Analysis Of Joyas Voladoras By Brian Doyle. (2022, Jun 02). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from
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