The Importance Of Choices In Poetry By William Stafford
Stafford eludes to the idea that the choices people make do not always have a positive outcome, even though they are made with the best intentions. He does this through the poem 's diction, the individual lines of the poem, and the title.
Word choice is very important in everyday conversation and it is just as important in poems. Stafford uses repetition and carefully picked words to present the theme of choices and the implications they have to the reader. The first word that stood out was "swerving" (Line 14, 17). While it denotes changing direction abruptly, it connotes danger, to make a mistake, indecisiveness, faltering and avoidance. People swerve with their car to avoid accidents or swerve back and forth when drunk behind the wheel. Yet it is also very common to describe the decision-making process with all of these terms. People avoid making choices because they can be dangerous. Dangerous decisions rarely have a positive outcome even with the best intentions in mind. It is because of how dangerous a choice can be that people falter or are indecisive. In addition being closed-minded or limited as connoted …show more content…
Stafford captures this extremely well with the title of his poem "Traveling Through the Dark". The title captures this very well because that is what decision making takes place alone, in the dark. Looking back we can always find what we think was a better choice to make, yet a different choice could have had the same outcome or worse. We can ask people for help or insight, yet we are alone and traveling in the dark when it comes to making decisions and living with the choices we have made. We have social guidelines of what is believed to be the right choice, however those choices can be tainted by hate and bigotry. We alone are ultimately the one who has to live with the choices and decisions we make. We can have good intentions, however there is no light guiding us to the right decision. There is no sign on a door to mark the right choice. It is only once we have stepped through the door and it has closed that we can see the consequences of the decisions we have made. Stafford makes this very apparent in the speaker. Up until the point that the speaker pushes the dead doe off the cliff, the speak believes he is making the best decision. However, it isn 't until he pushes the doe off the cliff that he realizes the mistake he has made. Stafford does not make it known why the decision was bad, yet he infers that this is the case when he states, "I