Analysis Of Traveling Through The Dark

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William Stafford, a famous writer whose work was often described as deceptively simple, wrote poems that often took place on a mountainside, a riverbank, or a roadside—"near an exit". In his poem “Traveling through the Dark,” the speaker travels upon a dead deer on the edge of a narrow road. This poem dramatizes the conflict between life and death, particularly as this conflict relates to the speaker’s assertion that death is inevitable, however, life can continue after death. Although the speaker teeters on the decision to “roll [the deer] into the canyon” (3), or leave it and cause harm to the travelers who may “swerve” (4) to miss it, his hesitation is followed by his decision to “[push] her over the edge into the river” despite the contrasting …show more content…
This organization greatly resembles the format of the classic iambic pentameter with alternating rhyming lines, however, irregular in meter, the poem employs the use of slant rhythms in the first stanza such as “road” (2) and “dead” (4), giving the poem more of a conversational tone. Lines 1 and 2 play a major role in developing the setting of the poem. In only two short lines, Stafford describes the time of day (dark), the rural setting (Wilson River Road), and what the speaker has encountered (a dead deer). Although the plain language can be easily detected the hidden enjambment between lines 1 and 2 control the image of the setting the reader produces as they continue reading. As the speaker travels the road in the dark they “[find] a deer / dead on the end of the Wilson Road” (1-2). This continuation of the sentence over a line-break creates more of an audible interest and puts more emphasis on the condition of the deer. By beginning the second line with “dead,” in an instance Stafford alters the setting and forces the reader to modify the image produced in the first line to agree with the image produced in the second line. Within seconds the deer goes from living to dead which ultimately demonstrates the fragility of life and entertains the idea that life can change in an instant. The alliteration, “dead on the edge of the Wilson River road,” gives …show more content…
As the speaker “[touched] her side [it] brought [him] the reason— / her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,” (5-6) the break in streaming supports the previous idea present in the first stanza that life can change at any moment. The comma followed by “waiting” allows for an even more dramatic pause. The words “waiting,” “alive,” and “still” give the false impression that the poem will turn around, but the speaker states that the fawn is “never to be born.” Also the warmth of the doe’s side parallels the previous metaphor that “she was large in the belly” (8). As the fawn lay “never to be born” the link of life to death makes an appearance (7). To begin, the line break and commas that set between “waiting” (6), “alive” (7), and “still” are the only real descriptions used to describe the fawn. This plain and direct diction present throughout the poem, describes the fawn with simple yet strong adjectives. The fawn which holds life is detained by the dead doe. Here, the idea that life foresees death is present in which the fawn has been granted life, but before birth it is faced with death. Death, which is present throughout the poem, seems to make appearances at inconvenient times and seems to rattle others around it as

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