Analysis Of William Stafford 's ' Traveling Through The Dark '

1581 Words Feb 16th, 2016 null Page
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 fact: the deer’s side is warm with a fawn “waiting, / alive, still, never to be born” (10-11).
In his free verse poem filled with enjambments, Stafford employs the use of four four-lined stanzas followed by a couplet. 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…

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