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Poem - Essay Example

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Summary
Traveling through the Dark William E. Stafford’s literary work, Traveling through the Dark is a somber account of the reality of life. More so, it is a work which depicts the collision of two realities known to man and what this conflict signifies for human beings…
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Poem

Download file to see previous pages... It is a plausible assertion to make that the “voice” in the poem is that of William Stafford who is presenting a realistic account to the reader. Of much significance is the tone of the poem and how Stafford chooses to address his audience. What may appear as the poet’s indifference towards the dead deer is soon transformed into sympathy as he touches the animal’s belly and feels the warmth of the life that is growing inside of her. The seemingly compassionate nature of this action, however, is short lived as the progress towards the fourth stanza of the poem brings into light the inner conflicts of the speaker. "It is usually best to roll them into the canyon: that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead” (Stafford 11): the speaker had initially thought upon encountering the deer that her carcass must be removed from the path of traffic, but he soon drifted into his thoughts before the action could materialize. In this moment in the poem the tone shifts to a display of sympathy, however, the poet’s removal of the deer as he had aimed to do is a representation of the ironic tone of the poem which reappears in the forefront towards the departure of the blank verse. The symbolism of the word “Dark” is a notion which is central to the literary work. Even though, the literal meaning of the term is obvious from the title itself the figurative meaning of the word holds the immense significance due to its multidimensional interpretations. Stafford’s use of the word “Dark” represents shock, confusion, destruction, threat, struggle, death, destiny, and even failure; humanity’s failure to synchronize and harmonize what it invented and what God created. Like the dead deer lying on the edge of Wilson River road, death is the fate of every living creature, and this is a fact that cannot be denied. Therefore, the darkness in the literary work is also the darkness of death. The beauty of the imagery used by Stafford in the poem is that the poet allows it to be open for interpretation rather than being unequivocally clear about its purpose and intention in the context of the literary work. An intriguing line with respect to this observation says, “I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red” (Stafford 11), where the reader is provided with the liberty to imagine the poet standing against his car with red light on his face. Certainly, this image can be interpreted in numerous ways, primarily because the connotations associated with this depiction can be comprehended as a plethora of emotions. If the red light is believed to be indicating danger then what or who is in danger? Is it the incoming cars that might meet with an accident if the poet decides that the animal carcass should not be removed? Or is it humanity itself which is in jeopardy as it refuses to mend its ways and revere nature as it is meant to be revered? Furthermore, the imagery of the “warm exhaust turning red” can also be associated with the emotions being felt by the speaker himself; these emotions that range from confusion, aggression to even embarrassment represent the challenges and complexity of the situation. Furthermore, Stafford’s use of imagery in the literary w ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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