The poem by William Stafford, “Traveling Through the Dark” presents readers with an uncomfortable and rather grim instance of the intersection of the natural world and that of man. Technology, in this case cars and the man-made road, are seen as something invasive and harmful in this poem. In order to convey the meaning of the poem “Traveling Through the Dark” by William Stafford uses a conversational style to communicate the theme in the poem of the role of technology in modern life and, more importantly, the theme of man versus nature becomes apparent.
There are multiple ways of perceiving the poem and the tensions between man and technology it presents. One viewpoint, as expressed by Judith Kitchen in her book “Writing the World: Understanding William Stafford“, suggests that the poem by Stafford, “Traveling Through the Dark” demonstrates “the encroachment of mechanized society on the wilderness” (Kitchen). For Kitchen, this poem deceptively simple and straightforward title of the poem by William Stafford, “Travelling Through the Dark” and its conversational style belie an incredibly deep sense of pain and guilt that the narrator suffers through. By examining the way the poem uses language to express these emotions, particularly by looking at the way certain objects take on a life (the car, for instance, which itself “aims” and swerves” as though it is the embodiment of man and technology) Kitchen expresses how the poem by Stafford “Traveling Through the Dark” hides a complex message about man and nature behind deceptively simple phrasing, syntax, and tone. She points out ways in which some very simple word choices in the poem by William Stafford, “Traveling Through the Dark” take on monumental importance, stating, for example, that when the poet refers to the “group” witnessing this event, “The group appears to be the man, the deer, the unborn fawn, and by extension, all of nature” (Kitchen). In short, Judith Kitchen assists the casual reader of this poem...
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