Woodchucks Poem Essay

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"Eliminating the Pest"
In the poem "Woodchucks" by Maxine Kumin, the speaker is in her garden and is annoyed with some woodchucks that are eating and destroying the produce in the garden. The speaker in turn tries to remove the woodchucks by using humane gas to kill them and when that is unsuccessful, she resorts to more violent means. This poem uses the annoying woodchucks to signify the Jewish people during the Holocaust by the Nazi Party.

In the first stanza of the poem, the speaker clearly identifies that some woodchucks are annoying her. To solve this problem, the speaker uses gas as a way to eliminate the pests quickly and painlessly much like the Nazis tried to eradicate the Jews from their presence. Gassing the woodchucks is an easy way to remove the pests because using gas does not involve looking at the victims as they are put to death. This is also why the Nazis used the gassing methods to kill the Jews. After time this method was not as widely used due to the resilience of the woodchucks and Jews. Thus, this led the killers to use more ruthless techniques.

The second stanza and third stanza tell how the woodchucks continue to destroy the garden because the cyanide gas was not successful. The speaker tells about the woodchucks taking over the vegetable patch and beheading the carrots. This drives the speaker crazy, therefore taking the violence to another level. The speaker pulls out a gun and puts the barrel to the head of one of the woodchucks, while looking him square in the eye as she pulls the trigger. The poor innocent woodchuck falls to its death in the beautiful roses below.

The second and third stanzas bring out the true violence in the speaker. She claims that she is a peaceful person but has been driven to violence. Thus natural selection is responsible for the woodchuck's death, not her. This is just like the Nazis killing the Jewish people during the Holocaust. The Nazis saw the Jews as an inferior race that...
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