The Animal Holocaust and Roadkill

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Rodents destroying the yard is one of the most obnoxious things to deal with as a homeowner. An animal in the middle of the road is about as annoying, especially if a driver is in a rush. “Woodchucks,” a poem by Maxine Kumin, is directly about a person killing off the woodchucks in his/her yard. William Stafford’s poem, “Traveling through the dark” is about a driver who came upon a dead pregnant doe in the road, who’s fawn is still alive, and whether or not to make the decision about whether to push the doe off the cliff with the fawn inside or to save the unborn fawn’s life. Both poets, Kumin and Stafford, contrast the theme of inhumane acts carried out by a darker force, while also comparing the personification used in both poems.

The types of personal characteristics that evolve in a person’s mind and body are innate in everyone. Those characteristics can reveal some of the most exotic and inhumane feelings toward a certain object. Kumin and Stafford both use this theory to contrast the tone of dehumanization of man in each of their poems. Kumin’s poem, “Woodchucks” designates that “the murderer inside [he/she] rose up hard” (Line 23), a characterization that not many people would describe themselves as. The speaker recognizes his/her actions and realizes they are being taken over by a deeper, darker force, however, he/she continued to kill off the woodchucks one by one. The person knew the sinister force inside he/she was taking their mind and body over, despite the fact they knew what they were doing was morally wrong. Stafford’s poem, “Traveling through the dark” similarly recalls that the driver knew the doe had a living fawn inside of her, yet still pushed the doe off the cliff, killing the unborn fawn. The driver had the fawn’s life in his hands, and instead of sparing its life, he/she acted out of their humane and moral codes by killing the fawn. Both characters realized what they were doing yet still acted out of humanization. Inhumane acts may have...
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