D. H. Lawrence (Snake, Tortoise Shout, Humming-Bird)

Topics: Ezra Pound, Modernism, William Butler Yeats Pages: 7 (1958 words) Published: December 11, 2013
D. H. LAWRENCE (1885 – 1930)

Hardy and Yeats belong to the upper classes; however, D. H. Lawrence is a working class poet and novelist. Both Hardy and D.H. Lawrence write outstanding novels and they are famous in both of the literary forms. Hardy depicts nature in terms of pessimism like William Butler Yeats and D.H. Lawrence portrays pessimism through the sexuality that stands for the blood for himself. In Freudian psychology, the snake symbolizes the male sexual power. However, in D.H. Lawrence’s poem entitled “Snake”, the animal stands for the innate glory of wild beings and the vulgarity as a whole and the pettiness of the human beings is narrated. Secondly the snake in the poem stands for traditional values and it also symbolizes the indecisiveness of the human beings when they are faced with dangerous things. Hardy and Yeats dwell on the human beings but D. H. Lawrence depicts the bestiary in the depiction of animals. In Hardy’s “Last Words to A Dumb Friend”, an elegy to a pet cat is studied. In another poem by him entitled “Snow in the Suburbs”, there is a reference to a black cat. But none of the cats have symbolic meanings. But the animals in D. H. Lawrence’s poems are all symbolic.


First Section:

In the first section a snake comes to the fresh water-trough in front of D. H. Lawrence’s garden in order to drink some water under a dark carob-tree. In the meantime the poet joins the scene with a pitcher and realizes that a snake comes from the earth fissure. Apart from this, the yellow-brown animal attracts his attention when he is sipped throughout the way. At this stage the snake symbolizes power because it is poisonous and can harm anybody similarly in William Butler Yeats’ poem entitled “Sailing to Byzantium”, and “Byzantium” country represents the power but this is power in perfection and civilization but the snake’s power is physically in terms of the philosophy of Darwin. So that the more powerful can get over the one that is weak and cannot express himself.

Second Section:

In this section, the setting is given a day of Sicilian July when Etna Mountain was smoking. Because it was in fire it was too hot and the snake wanted to drink some water. From time to time, he lifted his head from his drinking and flickered his forked and poisonous tongue. The writer knows that such snakes in golden colour are very dangerous and at one stage he wants to kill the animal but he is paralysed and cannot do anything. The best way is for him to stand still.

Third Section:

In the first and the second section, the snake symbolizes fear and the awakening of dangerous feelings. In the third section, we see the poet as a round character and the snake stands for a peaceful and a pacified being in a nature where a volcano is in fire. So, the bad sides of nature is depicted but the snake is cool and in perfection. Therefore, at this stage, Lawrence confesses that he likes the animal and it symbolizes perfection in emotions.

Fourth Section:

In this stanza, psychological insight of the poet is narrated. The place is in Sicily where D.H. Lawrence had a house and observed a lot of things here. So as in Hardy and Yeats, autobiographical experience is narrated. The poet asks why his cowardice takes part in seeing the animal and probably because it was poisonous, he could not kill the animal. Seeing that it appeared mild, the poet wants to get in touch with the animal out of curiosity. Furthermore, he realizes that the animal symbolizes humility for he does not harm the poet and therefore he feels honoured to see such an animal with innate feelings. In the poem, there are two lines from the collective unconsciousness of the poet that says he did not kill the animal out of fear but Lawrence knows that this was true in the beginning but later on he noticed the perfection of the animal. Noticing something is called an epiphany in literature as it was also seen “In Memory of Major Robert Gregory”,...
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