Poem Analysis: Traveling through the Dark by William Stafford

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Topics: Tragedy, Deer, Wilderness
Mirna Garcia
6/30/11
Assignment #3

William Stafford's "Traveling Through the Dark" is a poem that expresses the challenging aspects of having to make difficult decisions accompanied by sadness. The narrator expresses his struggle of how he deals with a tragic event he runs into while traveling in the dark on a swerved road. As he is driving down a narrow road he runs into a dead deer. Most people view these animals as beautiful creatures belonging and associated it with our beautiful view of nature. When the narrator runs into the dead deer, he thinks about how it is usual to roll them over the edge of the Wilson River road . By this it would avoid another fatal accident by others traveling the swerved road . As he touches the deer, he realizes her belly is warm which meant one thing, she was pregnant. He expresses his hesitation taking in to consideration that this baby fawn never had the chance to experience life. The narrator sadly decides to push the deer over the edge of the river. The narrator uses figure of speech when he expresses “ I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red; around our group I could hear the wilderness listen” ( Stafford 1520).
Perhaps by thinking this way he felt that the wilderness and nature were watching and observing him to see what he would do next. It’s obvious that nature itself cannot hear a human but wild animals can hear and may have a sense of what he was feeling. He also writes “I thought hard for us all- my only swerving” (Stafford 1520). The narrator decides to the push the deer over into the river and this may indicate what he felt would be what the wilderness may have wanted him to do and leave the deer where it came from. The tone of the poem is sadness and how the narrator struggles with the decision he needs to make of this tragedy. He feels like finding the deer dead in the first place was a tragedy in its self and makes a decision to stop the vehicle and roll

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