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William Stafford’s poem “Traveling Through The Dark” Essay

The speaker in the poem must reflect on what to do about the dead does, he knows that in order to keep other ppl from hitting her & getting into an accident he must push her into the canyon, but the still alive foal weighs on his conscience. The speaker has to search his mind in order to reconcile the necessity of his actions w/ the harm that he have caused or will cause to others.

* The Theme of Man’s disregard for nature & nature vs. technology:

The title, along w/ the story itself, suggests man’s disregard for nature. Humans seem to travel through life like a horse w/ blinders on, oblivious to the consequences or implications of their actions. The driver who killed the deer is an example of this theme. The message that this poem seems to bring is of the age-old conflict tween nature & technology. This becomes apparent when Stafford brings in the part about the car. The reader understands that the car symbolizes man’s world, technology. Obvious too, is the deer symbolizing nature. The fact that a car killed the deer is perhaps his message…that technology will eventually triumph over nature.

* Man’s Solitary Struggle to Deal w/ a Tragic Event:

It is the story of a man’s solitary struggle to deal w/ a tragic event that he encounters. The main theme of the poem however, is the sadness & misfortune that accompany us on our journey through life. The Wilson River Road, in which the events of the poem take place, is symbolic of the road of life that we all travel upon. In his moment of decision, though, the only company the narrator had was the silent & unheeding world around him. Unfortunately, many situations we must face in life are like this. Ppl aren’t always around to help us through hard times, & most tragedies, such as death, are obstacles that we must overcome individually. His story gives

clarification to the overwhelming & chaotic nature of life.

* Must Learn to Deal w/ Tragedies /Death is inevitable:

As described in the poem though, death is inevitability that we can’t change, & therefore should not deter us from our path. Like the narrator’s car staring toward t! Anxious about moving on, we all are eager to put these events behind us & continue on w/ life. This last aspect is symbolized by the river in the poem that runs adjacent to the road. As we push life’s obstacles off to the side, they fall into this symbolic river & are swept farther & farther away from us by the current of time, allowing us to continue on our way. We must learn to deal w/ tragedies such as death, as they are unavoidable. These events do have an everlasting effect on us, but they should not lead us away from our natural course.


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