The poem leaves us either reassured that in the midst of all evil there can be some good or depressed and in despair because in the family life of the Belson commandant lurks an evil which could ruin their lives any time. Night of the Scorpion The title denotes power and control from the scorpion as one night the scorpion ruled and controlled everything that happened. The title uses Night to give a sense of dark times and that something fatal may occur. The poem is very other. It has an Indian location which is where scorpions can be found as it is one of the warmer regions of the world.
The poem is in free verse with the last three lines sectioned off. It is of narrative style and contains a very memorable heart. The weather was desperate and it was lashing with rain. In fact the monsoon conditions had affected the scorpion and all that it wanted to do was to shelter from the torrent. However it was disturbed by the poet’s mother who was probably searching for rice to feed her family. She was stung and the poison from the tail entered her bloodstream like a foreign invader defiling the enemy territory.
Many neighbours arrived and the author compares this to a “swarm of flies”. I would compare it to students who clamour around desperate fro entertainment around a schoolyard fight or would be helpers around an accident victim. The neighbours like the helpers all had their suggestions many of their ideas involving the power, rituals and beliefs of religion. The scorpion is thought to be evil when in reality it is only trying to protect itself. The people believed that the victim and the scorpion were still linked.
This bond meant that when the scorpion moved the poison inside the mother moved around her blood invading and conquering. Many prayers were said for the victim. The neighbours also felt that out of this tragic accident some good would emerge. The poison would “burn away” her sins and cleanse and purify her body of excessive ambition and lustful or adulterous thoughts or acts. Neighbours believed that her suffering was paying the price of evil to God and reducing the amount of evil in the world.
The victim’s husband was willing to try any one idea or a combination and mixture of the suggestions. He was usually not one to believe in religion but usually based his opinions on logic and facts. Yet even he set fire to the affected site and watched the “flame feeding” on her toe. A holy man was allowed to perform sacred rites and after twenty hours the victim recovers only to rejoice in the fact that it was her and not her children. The mother’s wishes were a superb example of the unconditional love most mothers feel for their children. Comparisons and Differences.
Both poems are about creatures who are simply concerned with their own survival. With the vultures it is the need for food that causes them to be scavenges and with the scorpion its wish not to be squashed causes it to “flash its diabolic tail”. Both poems give information on cultures that are not familiar to us. The main difference is the message given by the poets In vultures the readers can chose there own position with regards to good and evil whereas the second message denotes the helplessness that sometimes death will occur and at other times the victim will survive.
In the scorpion it is possible for both the victim and the scorpion to survive whereas the vultures will die if they don’t eat prey and the prey is already dead. Death is a necessary evil for the vultures. Cultural Background I think that ‘Night of the Scorpion’ best captures cultural background because it mentions religion and family life from another culture. For example “mud baked walls” and “candles and lanterns” and the “Holy man performing his rights to tame the poison with an incantation”. Whereas ‘vultures’ is set in the middle of nowhere, somewhere like the deserted plains of Africa.
It isn’t something that would be found happening in a village. ‘Scorpion’ is a true story of the poets’ family and it comes across through the detail and building of atmosphere the poem contains brought about by the phrase “ten hours of steady rain had driven him to crawl beneath a sack of rice”. As he was there at the time his thoughts and feelings are brought across very well in his writing. The poem shows compassion when the “mother only said Thank God the scorpion picked on me and spared my children. ” Conclusion
I prefer ‘vultures’ as I like the way in which evil is contained in good. This is shown in the phrase “in the very germ of that kindred love is lodged the perpetuity of evil”. The evil is described in phrases such as “picked the eyes of a swollen corpse”, “ate the things in its bowel” and “fumes of human roast”. The good however is conjured up by “inclined affectionately” and “tender offspring. I feel it is more of a poem compared to Night of the Scorpion because Scorpion is a very much narrative style of writing. It is too narrative for my liking.