Compare/Contrast Traveling Through the Dark and Woodchucks

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Compare and Contrast Essay
In the poems “Traveling Through the Dark” and “Woodchucks” man must make a decision about nature in the most inconvenient ways. In “Traveling Through the Dark” the narrator is faced with, literally, a life or death situation, whereas in “Woodchucks” the narrator is faced under the Darwinian belief about killing. Both poems reveal the interpersonal relationship between man and animal as well as the moral dilemma that man faces with nature. However, through the use of narration, vivid imagery, and personification, the poets show one speaker’s sympathetic attitude towards the animals while the other speaker has an adversarial attitude toward them.

Stafford’s poem, “Traveling Through the Dark,” deals with the moral dilemma that the speaker faces with himself and nature. The attitude of the speaker is objective towards the deceased deer at the beginning of the poem; near the end of the poem the author shows the speakers shift from objective to sympathetic. This is noted through the narration of the poem and the images that the poet creates. The poet objectively reports that the man was just “traveling through the dark” and happened to find a deer. However, the detail about the specific road “Wilson River road” indicates that this incident is more than just a casual encounter. The image in the second stanza “the heap” shows the speakers distant relationship to the dead animal. In fact, the poet states he “dragged her off” the road, matter of fact, because he knew on occasions such as this “it is usually best to roll them off the canyon.” His attitude begins to shift in stanza three when he says “Beside that mountain road I hesitated.” Here, the author begins to show the moral dilemma that the speaker faces with himself and nature. After this line the poem changes. The speaker, at this point, is already out of his truck and is leaning over the dead deer debating upon whether or not he should attempt to rescue the fawn living inside its...
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