The speaker discovers a dead deer in the road, and his conscience tells him remove the deer from the road to protect others who may be driving down the road on this dark night; “to swerve might make more dead.” The speaker examines the deer closely, and , he discovers that it is a pregnant doe; its fawn is still alive, waiting to be born. Suddenly, the choices are much more complicated. Should he try to save the fawn, or do as he originally intented?
Faced by the implications of this decision, the narrator considers his surroundings: his car stares ahead into the darkness with its lowered parking lights, purring its steady engine; “The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights; “under the hood purred the steady engine.”, he stands “in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red,” and can “hear the wilderness listen.” All of these describe the anxiety he feels about his responsibility.
The personified car is expectantly awaiting his decision, eager to get moving again. The car light point the way ahead, and the engine purrs as if it were alive and waiting. The wilderness takes on human abilities also, silently witnessing the outcome it knows must be, but wishing it was otherwise. As the narrator ponders all of this, the tail lights of the car illuminate him in their red light. This is reflective of the heightened emotions he is experiencing, but also brings to mind the bloody fate of the deer and her unborn fawn The decision is not easy. He simply says that he “thought hard for us all my only swerving” and proceeds with the task he had committed to since the beginning. He pushes the deer and her unborn fawn over the edge into the river. “For us all” here can mean the poet, the doe, the fawn, the wilderness, and, by implication, all living things. His thought swerves, as a car would have done, but he acts as he feels he must. Stafford forces the reader to imagine the difficulty of the choice and thus puts the reader, retrospectively, into his dilemma. The speaker Robert F4rost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken” is fracing a with a dilemma in which she must decide between two paths. The speaker looks back at a time in his life when ehe came to a fork in the road and chose one path over another..
In William Stafford's poem "Traveling through the Dark", the speaker is faced with making a morally tough decision, and with hesitation, he decides to do what is...