Compare & Contrast "Woodchucks" and " Traveling Through the Dark"

Topics: Poetry, Rhyme, Stanza Pages: 2 (626 words) Published: January 30, 2011
Max Kumin’s , “Woodchucks” provides an interesting and creative perspective Into the mind state of those influenced by Nazi warfare. What begins as a seemingly Humorous cat and mouse hunt, soon develops into an insatiable lust for blood. However, “ Traveling through the Dark” by William Stafford, presents an innocent soul lost by the unawareness of man and the death of an unborn innocent. Both Kumin’s and Stafford’s descriptive language and overall theme provides the reader with the insight necessary to understand to the speaker’s psychology as they are driven beyond the boundaries of pacifism and genocide.

The poem “Woodchucks” indeed has a rhyme scheme, yet doesn’t conform to conventional forms of rhyme , each stanza seems to follow the order of A, B, C, A, C, B, which may not be apparent to the reader at first, but doesn’t hinder the poem’s effectiveness. The first stanza begins with the speaker describing their failed attempt at eliminating the pests. The first attempt was described as merciful: “The Knockout bomb bone”. However, the following lines offer a bit of humor to the chase as it seems the woodchuck has outsmarted the speaker as a result of their overconfidence: “and the case we had against them was airtight, both exits shoehorned shut with puddingstone, but they had a sub-sub-basement out of range”. This first stanza sets the stage for what would appear to be a humorous battle of wit’s between the speaker and the woodchucks. While in “ Traveling through the Dark” consist of no rhyme scheme, and follows a contemplative tone, that comes from the decision of life and death, which sets the moods of the poem include: sadness, despair.

The following stanza continues in this vein with the cynical statement, “Next morning they turned up again, no worse for the cyanide than we for our cigarettes and state-store Scotch, all of us up to scratch”. However, those that follow are slowly indicative of the speaker’s mental deterioration. The...
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