Life vs. Death
In the short story, “The Rattler”, a man and a rattle snake cross paths in the desert, and life vs. death is involved. The man has to decide whether he should kill the snake or not, and he decided that he is obligated to. Though we understand both sides of the story, the man should not have killed the snake. The snake was calm and alert, not trying to harm anyone, but still protecting himself. In the short passage, “The Rattler” , the personification of the snake, the point of the man, and details about the setting all lead readers to feel sympathy toward the snake, as well as sorrow and frustration towards the man.
Readers feel sorry for the snake because it loses its life, even though it never threatens or causes the man any harm. The snake is calm. The snake is careful and watchful, but does not strike. The rattler had not moved; he lay there like a “live wire”. The snake has all potential to harm, but controls itself, not threatening the man. The snake even gave the man a second chance by hiding in the bush, as if saying “I don’t want to harm you, but I can, so leave me alone!” As we all know, snakes are very much able to harm, but the snake, being calm, chose to even hide in order to not harm the man. Readers can also see that the snake is very patient. The snake was patiently waiting for the man to “show intentions”. Instead of automatically striking, it decides to wait, to only harm as self-defense, so that he does not have to harm for no reason. The snake is unwilling to fight, unless absolutely necessary. Any other snake would have most likely striked as soon as anyone even got near it, but this snake was patiently waiting for an actual reason to self-defend itself, unlike the man. As all snakes, the snake was courageous. “ He shook and shook his fair but furious signal, quite sportingly warning me that I had made an unprovoked attack”, the snake, not afraid to warn the man, by rattling , tells him to back off,...
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