Compare and Contrast traveling through the dark and woodchucks

Published: 2021-06-19 04:10:04
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In both poems “Traveling Through the Dark” by William Stafford, and “Woodchucks” by Maxine Kumin are comparing humans to different things. “Traveling Through the Dark” compares the doe, car, and man and how they each conflict with each other. In “Woodchucks” it is comparing the conflicts between man and man with the allusion of a woodchuck. Both poems use strong imagery, and state a shift in the tone, revealing their change of mind, and have similar conflicts showing the different relationships with nature, and their themes.
“Traveling Through the Dark” uses imagery like “the road is narrow” possibly suggesting that he doesn’t have much time to make a decision. Also implying that the road is already a dangerous road to travel upon, and too add a dead doe to the various dangers would not be wise and would cause more deaths. “I stumbled back to the car” would suggest it was really late, he was tired and would’ve liked to just drive on. “Beside the mountain road I hesitated” is saying that he is contemplating whether to push the pregnant doe over the side or to leave it there for other cars to hit and cause accidents.
“I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red,” the warm exhaust turning red paints the picture of death possibly because of red representing blood. In “Woodchucks” imagery mostly represents the Jews and Nazis. Like “Gassing the woodchucks” and “was featured as merciful” is implying that the woodchucks are like Jews and they were gassed, and it was considered more humane than being shot.
“They had a sub-sub-basement out of range” is like the Jews having to hide in hidden attics in peoples houses. “puffed with Darwinian pieties for killing” Darwin proposed that the ones who adapted would survive and the ones who couldn’t would die; the Nazis would adapt, and the Jews couldn’t so the would die. Once the man starts killing the woodchucks he shows that he has absolutely no regard for any of their lives. In the last stanza there is only one old woodchuck left and he can’t catch and kill him. This portrays the Jews who could hide and escaped the Nazi’s wrath.
“If only they’d all consented to die unseen gassed underground the quiet Nazi way” Shows that not all of the Germans were so cold hearted and enjoyed what they did, and that he wished most of them could’ve died in a more humane way instead of being shot. Both poems “Traveling Through the Dark” and “Woodchucks” show a shift in the tone to a more hesitant and unsure manner of writing. In “Traveling Through the Dark” it says, “Beside that mountain road I hesitated” he was contemplating whether or not to push the deer over the side to clear the road. Also it states “…
I could hear the wilderness listen” which means he thought about it a long time pondering, and taking in account all the circumstances. Then it says “ I thought hard for us all-” meaning humans and nature alike; “my only swerving-, then pushed her over the edge into the river. ” Deciding it was best to clear the road preventing any human casualties, from this does’ death. In “Woodchucks” the man decides that because the “woodchucks” are taking his food, and the gas didn’t work he must result to shooting them. “I a lapsed pacifist fallen from grace” states he changed his ways to a “hawk eye killer”.
Even though the man is happy he got rid of almost all the “pests” he says “If only they’d all consented to die unseen gassed underground the quiet Nazi way” which shows he is resentful and regrets what he did and mostly wishes he hadn’t. Both poems show conflict of humans and nature in different ways. “Traveling Through the Dark” theme is about mans disregard for nature, and how machines like the car for instance are competing with nature. The car killed the doe even though pregnant and with the fawn still alive man pushes it over the edge of the mountain for humanity’s own sake.
“Woodchucks” is written as a human vs. nature conflict but once you dissect the poem you see that it really is human vs. human conflict. The human vs. human conflict in “Woodchucks” is representing the Jews as the woodchucks and the Nazis as the man. Both are basically about humans disregard for something that they think is inferior to them, like nature or Jews, in this case. All in all both “Traveling Through the Dark” and ”Woodchucks” use similar imagery, shifts in tone, and conflicts to show their themes. Although they are quit similar their themes both vary slightly and have slightly different meanings,

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